Contra Costa County

Plane Flips, Catches Fire in Fatal Crash at East Bay Airport

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Federal authorities are investigating what caused the crash Saturday afternoon of a single-engine plane towing a glider as it was taking off from the Byron Airport, killing the pilot of the tow plane.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said Saturday night that the two-seat Bellanca 8GCBC crashed "under unknown circumstances" at about 1:20 p.m. Saturday. The Bellanca flipped over and caught fire, he said.

The trailing glider, Gregor said, landed safely.

Earlier Saturday, the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District had said the pilot of the Bellanca died in the crash. The Contra Costa County Coroner's Office couldn't be reached Saturday night to comment on the identity of the victim.

In an email, Gregor said the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate Saturday's crash. The NTSB is the lead investigative agency, said Gregor, adding that it typically takes a year or more to officially determine a probable cause of an accident.

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