By Elisabeth Smith

NEVADA COUNTY (CBS13) — A pilot from Rancho Cordova died after a plane crash in Nevada County Tuesday afternoon.

The Nevada County Sheriff’s Office has identified the pilot as 30-year-old Ronald Hooper.

The crash happened around 3:40 p.m. in the area of Meadow Drive and Highway 174, about a mile and a half outside of the Nevada County Airport in Grass Valley. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the pilot reported engine problems before crashing into trees and landing upside down in an underdeveloped lot.

Witnesses told the sheriff’s office the plane lost power before crashing. First responders found Hooper trapped inside the cockpit. He was extricated and flown via air ambulance to Sutter Roseville, where officials say he died from his injuries.

Hooper was flying a single-engine Piper PA-38, the FAA said. He was the only person on-board.

Multiple agencies including the Peardale Chicago Park Fire Department and the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene. The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash.

Hooper was part of the Air Force Reserve at Travis Air Force Base’s 349th Air Mobility Wing, officials confirmed to CBS13.

“Capt. Hooper was a highly respected and valued Air Force officer, wingman and friend. Our heartfelt condolences and prayers go out to his family, friends and all members of our wing,” wrote the 349th in a statement.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates. 

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