Four Flying Samaritans killed in Baja plane crash

October 16, 2010

Logo of the Flying Samaritans

Four members of the San Luis Obispo County chapter of Flying Samaritans, a medical volunteer group, were killed Friday afternoon when their private plane crashed about 90 miles south of Tijuana. [Tribune]

The team was en route to San Quintin, a small coastal town that is home to one of the few hospitals in Baja. Rescuers found the wreckage Saturday after the plane, piloted by attorney Roger Lyon of Cayucos, was reported missing Friday evening.

Also on board the plane were Dr. James Thorton and Dr. Graciela Sarmiento, both of Arroyo Grande. Andrew Thiel, a medic and Cal Poly student also died in the crash.

Weather reports indicate that the plane, a 1973 Beechcraft Bonanza A36,  encountered dense fog while navigating a mountainous area. Authorities lost contact with the plane after 7:30 p.m.

Friday’s accident was not the first fatal plane crash for the cross-border charity organization. On May 21, 2000, three of its charity members were killed when their small plane crashed about 180 miles south of Tijuana in Mexico.


8 Comments

  1. esteroboy says:

    The Flying Sams deserves thanks and praise. However…Roger Lyon’s history of local land policies needs to see the light of day.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

    • IMO says:

      arghhh – I accidentally pressed like instead of dislike :(

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  2. esteroboy says:

    The Flying Sams deserve all good credit and thanks. However…Roger Lyon’s history of local land policies needs to see the light of day.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  3. south says:

    Roger was a good, kind and passionate man. Rest in peace you fine man.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

  4. skip rollf says:

    I knew James Thorton, and he was a great man, had a beautiful spirit, and was a very giving person. My heart aches for his loss, and for his beautiful wife and daughter that he leaves behind.
    There will be a large void that will never be filled.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  5. hotdog says:

    These flying Samaritans are heroes. This is heartbreaking news.

    I wonder who placed the negative check marks on the previous posters, who would do that, who could possibly have anything against these giving people who lost their lives in service to humanity? Blows my mind.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 9

  6. liberalgirl says:

    My heart goes out to the Sams who lost their lives as well as their families. Rest in Peace and THANK YOU for the work your organization performs. You are most assuredly in Heaven now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 4

  7. Dave says:

    I had the honor of going with the “Flying Sams” as a volunteer back in July of 1992. We flew down to San Quintin and did a weekend medical clinic. These are great people doing wonderful things, volunteering their time and service on behalf of the needy in Baja. I am very sad to learn of this news and my heart goes out tonight to the families of the victims and to Flying Sams everywhere.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 49 Thumb down 8

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