5 people killed in Nevada medical services plane crash have been identified
Feb 28, 2023, 5:00 AM
(Jason Bean/The Reno Gazette-Journal via AP)
(CNN) — The five people who were killed Friday after a medical services airplane crashed in Western Nevada have been identified, according to GoFundMe fundraisers that the company verified to CNN.
The plane, which was bound for Salt Lake City, Utah, left Reno around 9:45 p.m. and was in the air for about 14 minutes when it appeared to break up mid-flight and crashed near Stagecoach, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said.
All five people aboard were killed. They included the plane’s pilot, the flight’s nurse and paramedic, along with a patient and a family member of the patient, according to Care Flight, a service provided through REMSA Health.
“We are heartbroken to report that we have now received confirmation from Central Lyon County Fire Department that none of the five people on board survived,” the organization said in a statement on Facebook early Saturday. “We are in the process of notifying their family members.”
Victims included new father, veteran, couple being transported
The pilot has been identified as Scott Walton, according to Walton’s sister-in-law who organized a GoFundMe fundraiser. According to the GoFundMe, Walton was a flight instructor and the father of three girls.
“Now his loving wife and three young daughters, who were the center of his world, are left to navigate the future without him. He loved them more than absolutely anything in the world. And we know his one, desperate worry will be their future,” Katie Maguire, Walton’s sister-in-law, said on the GoFundMe.
Maguire said he was an “exceptional pilot of the highest caliber” and spent time working as a flight instructor, teaching students around the world. “We have no doubt that whatever happened during the flight was unrecoverable and that Scott did everything possible to keep all aboard safe,” Maguire added.
The care flight paramedic was identified as Ryan Watson, according to a GoFundMe set up by a friend of Watson’s wife.
Savannah Green, who organized the GoFundMe on behalf of Watson’s wife, Kailey, called him a “loving husband.”
Green said he was a new father and was an “incredible care provider whose dedication to his family and community was unmatched.” Kailey had a baby on January 19, according to the fundraiser.
“Ryan loved being a Flight Medic and brought a positive attitude to every call and patient interaction he had,” Green said. “Ryan had an infectious personality; he was hilarious, ambitious, and free-spirited.”
The flight’s nurse was identified as Ed Pricola, according to a GoFundMe organized by Kleine Calvo on behalf of Ed’s wife, Lauren.
Calvo wrote on the page that Ed was a veteran and CrossFit athlete who loved his family.
“Ed leaves behind Lauren, the love of his life of over 12 years, his daughter Riley (4), his son Everett (2), and his golden retriever, Rip,” according to Calvo.
The patient being transported on the flight was identified as Mark Rand, and his wife, Terri, was also onboard, according to a GoFundMe organized for the family.
“Mark was on his way to receive lifesaving medical treatment in Utah. What was supposed to be a saving grace, ended in tragedy for the Rand family and the families of the crew and first responders on board,” Misty Gruenemay, the organizer of the Rand’s GoFundMe, said. “Mark and Terri were big hearted, family oriented, proud parents and grandparents. The Rand family is now coming together to figure out how to move forward.”
CNN has reached out to REMSA Health, the company that provided the medical flight.
How the crash happened
NTSB Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg said at a news conference Sunday that the flight, which was operated by Guardian Flight, departed Reno en route to Salt Lake City at approximately 9 p.m. local time.
The flight was in the air for about 14 minutes and had reached an altitude of just over 19,000 when radar noticed the plane was in a descending right turn at a high rate of descent, Landsberg said.
The last radar return showed the plane at an altitude of 11,000. “The evidence that we have at this point is that the aircraft broke up in flight,” Landsberg said.
Several parts of the plane have been recovered but the aircraft wasn’t equipped with a cockpit voice or fight data recorder, Landsberg said.
On Saturday, Care Flight said the Lyon County Sheriff’s Department and the Central Lyon Fire Department were coordinating with the NTSB to determine the cause of the crash.
Authorities in Lyon County — which encompasses Stagecoach — received multiple calls of a possible aircraft crash around 9:15 p.m Friday. First responders from Lyon and Douglas counties responded and located the airplane at around 11:15 p.m.
Landsberg said an 11-member team with the NTSB would be on site for several days to gather evidence.
He said the agency would be focusing its investigation on the pilot, the aircraft, maintenance records, the fuel on the aircraft, weather conditions — as icing and moderate turbulence were reported — the company’s dispatch procedures and its general policies.
A preliminary report would be available in the next two weeks, Landsberg said.
REMSA Health is currently in what it called a “passive stand down” for all flights across the company, adding that it intends to work with internal operations to determine when services may return.
Stagecoach is about 25 miles southeast of Reno.
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