Two die in plane crash near Fresno

December 27, 2016

planeA small experimental aircraft barely made it off a northwest Fresno runway Monday afternoon before crashing, snapping in half and landing partially submerged in the San Joaquin River. Both people on board died. [KFSN]

The single-engine Express S-90 plane took off around 1:30 p.m. at Sierra Sky Park, which has a runway lined with houses. One neighbor, Mike Rhodes, said he was outside when the plane took off.

“I was over here at this guy’s hanger. I heard him rotate and climb out,” Rhodes said. “I heard the engine stutter, and I heard a thud and that’s when we ran out here to see if we could find the airplane.”

Rhodes, along with first responders, found the plane partially submerged in the river north of the runway. The crash left pieces of the plane scattered in the water and the aircraft bent backwards.

Firefighters recovered the bodies hours after the crash. Authorities have yet to release the identities of the victims.

The cause of the crash is not yet known. An investigation is ongoing.

Fresno rescue and HAZMAT teams made sure there were no fluids leaking into the San Joaquin River.