ROSEBURG, Ore. — A Roseburg man and longtime Winston-Dillard firefighter was killed Sunday morning when his plane collided with another aircraft, northwest of Wabuska.
The Winston-Dillard Fire District announced Monday the loss of Captain Thomas R. Weiss.
“This is a tragic loss to the entire central Douglas County fire service,” Fire Chief Greg Marlar said in a written statement. “Tom was a professional that gave 110 percent of himself to his profession and the community he served. I have some sense of comfort knowing that Tom was doing one of the things he loved most.”
At about 8 a.m. Sunday, the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office dispatch center received a call two planes had collided, 11 miles northwest of Yerington. Another caller who witnessed the crash said it was near Wabuska, according to a sheriff’s office news release.
Deputies and fire personnel from the Mason Valley Fire Protection District responded and located an informal “fly-in” near a remote dry lake bed, northwest of Wabuska.
Several airplanes were flying in the area over the weekend. Deputies said they met with witnesses on scene who stated two airplanes — a Cessna 170 and homebuilt Savannah — collided north of the dry lake bed.
Deputies said they located the crash site and two airplanes, which were severely damaged. Both pilots were pronounced dead at the scene.
The identity of the other pilot has not yet been released.
Lyon County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue assisted by cordoning off the scene and locating debris from the accident.
The Federal Aviation Administration also responded to the scene and conducted the accident investigation. The National Transportation Safety Board is also investigating.
The sheriff’s office is conducting the death investigation.
Autopsies were planned today on both pilots by the Washoe County Medical Examiner’s Office.
According to the Winston-Dillard Fire District, Weiss was a 22-year veteran of the district and had served the past 12 years as captain and paramedic.
Marlar said Weiss had a passion for flying and had been piloting aircraft for more than 34 years.
For the past three fire seasons, Weiss, in his spare time, flew the spotter plane for the Douglas Forest Protective Association, Marlar said.
Marlar said Weiss’ son, Davis, followed in his footsteps and obtained his pilot’s license a few years ago after he turned 16.
Weiss is survived by his wife, Jennifer; son, Davis; and daughter, Julia.
Winston-Dillard fire personnel are assisting the family with planning Weiss’ services, which will be held Sunday.
The family is asking, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Tom Weiss Memorial Scholarship fund at the Winston-Dillard Fire District.