ENSENADA, MEXICO (BNO NEWS) — Mexican officials on Saturday said the wreckage of a small plane that crashed in northern Mexico on Friday has been found. Four Americans have been killed.
The small Beechcraft A36 was reported missing on Friday afternoon after the plane did not land in San Quintín, a coastal town on the west coast of the Mexican state of Baja California. The wreckage was found on Saturday.
According to the state’s Civil Protection agency, four people were killed in the accident that happened near Santo Tomás, not far from Ensenada in Baja California.
Officials identified the casualties as passengers James Thornton, a plastic surgeon, Graciela Sarmiento, a doctor, and Andrew Theil, a medical volunteer. The pilot was identified as Roger Lyon.
Federal records show the 1973-build aircraft was registered to Lyon Roger C Trustee out of Cayucos, California. However, officials say the plane was carrying medics from Flying Samaritans International in California, which provides free health care to poor Mexicans.
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 (289 kilometers) south of Tijuana in Mexico.
The charity’s doctors, dentists, nurses, translators, pilots and support personnel drive or fly to its clinics in private aircraft. The charity is organized in 10 chapters, drawing resources from California, Arizona, and Baja California.
[Fulano’s comment] Single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza’s like the one that crashed are known in the aviation business as “doctor killers.” I’d have to do a whole blog to explain why.
|Beechcraft that crashed in Baja, California|
UPDATE: Fulano pulled the weather records for Ensenada around the time the airplane crashed, early afternoon of October 15, 2010. The weather was 800 broken and 1800 overcast, with a temperature dewpoint spread of less than 2 degrees. Visability was 5 to 7 miles. This weather was all up and down the coast, from San Diego south. For the non-pilots that means in order for the pilot to fly to San Quintin from Ensenada, he would have to scud-run and stay below the solid overcast. There is no instrument approach to San Quintin, if the pilot flew up through the clouds with an instrument flight plan, he could not descend to land in San Quintin.
Ensenada is on an alluvial plain and is close to sea level, but terrain on the route south rises rapidly to 2,600 feet as you leave the Ensenada flatland. There is an east-west ridge at Santo Tomas. The ridge extends to the west and becomes Punta Banda. There is a pass at Santo Tomas along Highway 1. Fulano believes the pilot was scud running along Highway 1 through the pass and was trapped by rising terrain. In other words, he killed himself and his passengers because he just had to get to San Quintin. See Fulano’s post on situational awareness.
|The crash site.|