STANISLAUS COUNTY ( CBS13) — Authorities are investing a fatal crash at the Oakdale Airport in Stanislaus County.
The pilot was trying to land his plane Saturday morning when he crashed, causing the plane to go up in flames. He did not survive.
The coroner has not released the man’a identity. The only description given was he was an experienced pilot who has been using this airport for years.
”Witnesses indicated to police there may have been engine trouble prior to landing,” said Janeen Yates with the Oakdale Police Department.
Upon landing, the small-engine plane crashed crashed into a pickup truck and busted into flames near a hanger on the north end of a runway.
When police arrived, the plane and the truck were engulfed in flames.
“You can see the rubber tires’ traction curve towards his truck, which was parked in front of his hanger,” said Don Gutridge, the caretaker at the Oakdale airport.
Witnesses told police it appeared that the plane’s engine may have malfunctioned and that the pilot was struggling.
“Witnesses heard the engine sputtering,” said Gutridge. “There were parts that were found around, but nothing on the runway. So it seemed like something was wrong mechanically.”
Following their initial investigation, Oakdale police still don’t know if the pilot made contact with the air traffic control.
“That’s unknown. I don’t know if there was any type of correspondence between the pilot and the air traffic controller,” said Yates.
An Investigator with the NTSB came up from Phoenix. He will return Sunday morning with a team from the FAA. They will now take the lead into investigating the cause of the fatal crash.