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Light Plane Crashes In Joshua Tree National Park

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avatar Light Plane Crashes In Joshua Tree National Park
July 19, 2011 09:41AM
Joshua Tree National Park (CA)
Light Plane Crashes In Park

Rangers and rescue personnel from several agencies responded yesterday morning to a report of a plane crash in the northwest section of the park near Covington Flats. The plane, a small home-built aircraft constructed from a kit, was flying from Lake Havasu City, Arizona, to Compton, California, when it crashed in a hilly area of the park and caught fire. The lone occupant of the aircraft, Jeff Thornton, 28, was given emergency treatment at the scene for injuries sustained in the crash and airlifted to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center. The crash occurred at approximately 9:20 a.m. Members of the park's trail crew who were working in the vicinity saw a puff of smoke that alerted them to the crash. Local agencies sending personnel to the crash site included the National Park Service, San Bernardino County Fire Department, the Bureau of Land Management, San Bernardino County Sheriffs' Department, California Highway Patrol, and Morongo Basin Ambulance. Helicopters from Mercy Air and San Bernardino County Sheriffs' Department also supported the incident. The crash site is located in rocky terrain inside the park south of the communities of Yucca Valley and Joshua Tree. Rescue vehicles were able to get within about a mile of the crash site via La Contenta Road after which rescuers had to hike to the actual crash location. Rescue personnel were clear of the incident by about 12:30 p.m. The cause of the crash is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.
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