Tahoe Plane Crash: Heat May Have Affected Plane

Off-duty nurse comforts woman who lost husband
By Tara MacIsaac, Epoch Times
July 24, 2013 6:09 am Last Updated: July 24, 2013 6:14 am

Tahoe plane crash: Steven Lefton, 67, took off from the Lake Tahoe Airport Monday morning with his wife as the only passenger in a single engine Mooney airplane. The plane began to lose altitude and crashed and flipped into a wooded area just east of the airport.

Lefton was killed upon impact. His wife, Karen Lefton, sustained minor injuries. The crumpled, overturned wreck was leaking a large amount of fuel, immediately covered with fire-retardant foam when emergency personnel arrived on scene.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and other authorities are investigating the cause of the crash. El Dorado County sheriff’s Lt. Pete Van Arnum speculated in an interview with Lake Tahoe News: “It’s a fairly powerful plane, but on a hot day like this it’s fairly easy to lose density altitude and have problems.”

An off-duty CalStar flight nurse, Beth Frisby, was walking her dog in the area. She provided medical aid, and comfort, to Karen Lefton who was pinned in the wreckage, reports the sheriff’s office. Lefton was transported to hospital.

The plane is described in the Federal Aviation Administration preliminary report as “destroyed.” A photo published with the Lake Tahoe News report shows the wreckage. 

Another tragic loss of life occurred about 50 miles away from the Tahoe Airport on Sunday. A six-year-old boy went missing from a picnic area along Jenkinson Lake around 4 p.m. He was playing in the water with his sister, then his sister and father lost track of him. His body was found about 10 feet from shore.