By Rachel Wulff

TUOLUMNE COUNTY (CBS13) – The two men killed in a small plane crash in Tuolumne County have been identified as Sonora residents.

According to the sheriff’s office, the crash happened just after 6 p.m. in a field off the 21000 block of Springfield Road near the Columbia Airport. A single-engine Cessna 140A was involved in the crash. Exactly why the plane crashed is still under investigation.

Two people were on board at the time of the crash, the sheriff’s office said on Thursday: 73-year-old Robert Clough and 71-year-old Robert Parriott. Their preliminary cause of death is major trauma, according to the coroner’s office.

The FAA and NTSB will be investigating the crash.

The crash has been the talk around this small town.

“It’s very sad, we have had several planes go down where we live,” Victoria Bent said.

“Lots of our friends have planes, so it just goes to show you how vulnerable you are and how accidents can happen,” Shirley Sardella said.

The victims’ families declined to speak, but many are speaking about pilot safety and extra precautions with single-engine aircraft, especially with two small airports in the area and the increasing number of people flying.

“One engine. If it goes down — that’s it,” Bent said.

Private pilots over the age of 40 need a new flight physical every two years, and pilots under 40 need one every five years. We checked online and Clough’s was expired.

The FAA said it was not sure if their system had updated. So that will be part of the investigation along with the weather, and plane maintenance, among other things.

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