Federal Aviation Administration

NTSB Investigates Small Plane Crash Near Gilroy; No Survivors

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating a small plane crash near Gilroy that killed both passengers.

Allen Kenitzer, a spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Administration, told NBC Bay Area that the accident occurred Saturday evening. The airplane, a Cessna 140, took off from Frazier Lake Skypark east of Gilroy and was flying from Hollister to Watsonville. It crashed under unknown circumstances approximately 4 miles north-west of Hollister, Kenitzer said. The wreckage was discovered Sunday morning.

Deputies responded to a call around 10 a.m. from a rancher who reported the crash near Highway 152 and Canada Road, Santa Clara County sheriff's Sgt. Kurtis Stenderup said.

According to local authorities, there were two people on board the aircraft at the time of the crash. Santa Clara County Sheriff's office tweeted that there were no survivors. The aircraft sustained substantial damage.

The victims were identified Monday by the Santa Clara County Coroner's office: One of the victims is an 18-year-old woman from San Jose, Kiely Vaca, and the other is a man from Gilroy, 69-year-old John Dennis.

The tight-knit community of pilots was stunned to learn one of its friends had taken off at the airpark Saturday and never returned.

"I knew him," Raymond Aalsgaard of Hollister said. "It's kind of hard, especially when you have a passenger. You have that responsibility."

One pilot said he often flies out of the airpark.

"Its a safe airport," Robert Couches of Pleasanton said. "I've been coming down here for about 25 years now."

The FAA and the NTSB are investigating the accident. The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office is also on the scene of the crash. Stenderup described the crash site as a rural area.

"We had to use ATVs and 4x4 to get to the actual crash site," he said.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

Contact Us