A Tahoe City woman is dead and her husband severely injured after a small plane crashed in the mountains Monday near Truckee Tahoe Airport.
The Piper PA-46 Malibu crashed at about 11 a.m. roughly six miles southeast from the airport, in rugged and snow-covered terrain near Martis Peak at Juniper Creek, said Placer County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Jeff Ausnow.
The plane’s passenger, Darla Sue Farnell, 55, of Tahoe City, was pronounced dead at the scene, Ausnow confirmed late Monday.
The pilot — her husband, 70-year-old Ray Richard Farnell — suffered severe head trauma and was hospitalized at Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno in critical condition.
According to a statement from Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson Allen Kenitzer, the plane took off from Santa Ana, Calif., and crashed due to unknown circumstances en route to the Truckee airport.
A California Highway Patrol helicopter spotted wreckage around 11:50 a.m., Ausnow said; search crews reached the scene at about 1 p.m. and began rendering aid to Ray Farnell, who was transported to Renown roughly an hour later.
More than two dozen personnel from Placer County and other agencies responded, Ausnow said.