A single-engine Mooney airplane crashed shortly after take off from the South Lake Tahoe Airport at 11:10 a.m. Monday.
According to the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office, numerous witnesses saw the aircraft begin to lose altitude after take off, and bank sharply into a wooded area east of the airport.
The plane crashed into some large pine trees and flipped over. The pilot, Steven Lefton 67, of Palo Alto, Calif., was killed on impact. His wife, Karen Lefton, sustained moderate injuries and was pinned in the wreckage of the plane.
Off duty CalStar flight nurse Beth Frisby was walking her dog in the area, and came upon the wreckage. She provided medical aid and comfort to Karen Lefton for several minutes until the arrival of El Dorado County Sheriff’s deputies, and medics and firefighters from Lake Valley Fire Department.
The fuel from the crashed plane was leaking from the ruptured fuel tanks in the wings, and fire department personnel sprayed fire retardant foam onto the plane while medics and firefighters were able to remove her from the plane wreckage.
Karen Lefton was flown by CalStar to Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno. Assisting agencies were Cal Fire, U.S. Forest Service, South Lake Tahoe Fire Department, South Lake Tahoe Police Department, and California Highway Patrol. Investigators from FAA and NTSB are investigating the cause of the crash.