VACAVILLE, Calif. (CBS 13) – Two people died Monday morning in a plane crash at Lake Berryessa. Napa County Sheriff’s Department has identified the victims as 55-year-old John Murray Karkow and 41-year-old Cagri Sever. Both men worked for Icon Aircraft in Vacaville.
“Our deputies take this pretty hard and we’re pretty saddened by it,” said Capt. Keith Behlmer, with Napa County Sheriff’s Department. “We’d like to give our condolences to the families.”
Karkow and Sever were on board an Icon A-5 plane when it crashed on the shore of Lake Berryessa after 9 a.m. Investigators say it had been flying for about 20 minutes before it went down. No witnesses have come forward yet and investigators don’t know what caused it to crash.
ICON CEO Kirk Hawkins sent a message to customers today saying: “This was a devastating personal loss for many of us…The thoughts and prayers of our entire organization are with the families of both people on board, they were both truly amazing individuals.”
According to ICON’s website, Karkow spent 21 years in aircraft development. He led more than 20 aircraft programs and worked as an experimental test pilot. CBS13 spoke to a former co-worker of Karkow’s on the phone who said, “Jon was everybody’s friend.”
“It’s very remote for our lake,” Behlmer said. “It’s something you can only get to by boat.”
Behlmer said the plane crashed in a cove in the southeast area of the lake.
“A lot of people up here are doing touchdowns with their boats so it’s fairly common to have a lot of planes up here at the lake,” Behlmer said.
He told CBS 13 a different plane crashed near the lake just last week but those passengers were unharmed.
“It’s not very common,” Behlmer said, referring to crashes in the area. “It’s just one of those things that hopefully doesn’t happen in threes.”
National Transportation Safety Board Investigators are still assessing the damage and the cause. They say it may take six months to a year to figure out what happened.