Two killed, one hurt in plane crash near Mammoth Lakes |

Two killed, one hurt in plane crash near Mammoth Lakes

Staff report

Two people were killed and one person injured in a plane crash Sunday in Mono County.

Pilot Joseph Terrell Owens, 59, of Arroyo Grande, Calif., and a front passenger died on impact, according to the Mono County Sheriff’s Office. William Hansult, a rear passenger, was thrown from the wreckage. He appeared to have serious arm injuries and a major head laceration and was taken to Mammoth Lakes Hospital, then taken by helicopter to Washoe Medical Center.

Approximately 2:34 p.m., Mono County Sheriff’s Department dispatch received a report of a small airplane that had crashed near the Mammoth Lakes Airport. Personnel from the Sheriff’s Department, California Highway Patrol, Mono County Search and Rescue, and the Long Valley Fire Department responded to the west side of Highway 395 near Sherwin Creek and located the airplane.

The three passengers aboard the plane, a four-seater Cherokee Piper, were headed home to San Luis Obispo after a long weekend of skiing, said Deputy Steve Wilson of the Mono County Sheriff’s Department.

Witnesses say that shortly after takeoff, when the small aircraft was only about 150 feet in the air, the nose of the plane pitched down. The plane then began diving and crashed into the ground.

Representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration arrived Monday in Mammoth Lakes to begin their initial investigation and personnel from the National Traffic Safety Board are expected to arrive on Thursday to start their investigation.

The crash comes a month after Gregory Ronald Little, 41, a UPS shipper from Highland, Calif.; and Geoffrey Scott Kostiuk, 21, a U.S. Air Force reservist from Perris, Calif., were killed when the 1969 Musketeer Beach Craft they were flying in crashed Dec. 12 at the top of Sherwin Grade, about 20 miles south of Mammoth Lakes on Highway 395.