June 18, 2013

Passenger listed in critical condition after plane crash

CRASHED: A heavily damaged Cessna 125 rests against the side of an hill after it crashed Saturday night in the Dead Mountain Wilderness area on the outskirts of Needles.

Mohave Valley Daily News

NEEDLES — An official with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office on Monday released the names of the occupants injured following a plane crash Saturday night in the desert just north of Needles.

The victims have been identified as pilot Greg Snyder, 61, of Las Vegas; and passengers Robert Israel, 44; Jennifer Israel, 43, and 10-year-old Jacob Israel, all of Prescott, Ariz.

According to Cynthia Bauchman, spokeswoman with SBCSO, around 5:30 p.m. a plane crash was reported in the Dead Mountain Wilderness area, between Needles and Laughlin.

“The pilot of the 1958 Cessna 125 advised his plane was experiencing mechanical problems before they lost all power,” said Bauchman.

The first report of the crash was received just after 6 p.m., when Snyder radioed that his plane had gone down and he didn’t know his exact location but could see the Avi Resort Casino from his location.

Crews from the Fort Mojave Mesa Fire Department, Mohave Valley Fire Department, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office and the San Bernardino County Fire Department established a command post at the intersection of Aha Macav Parkway and Needles Highway, while a CareFlight helicopter was called in to assist with the search and rescue operation.

Due to rugged terrain surrounding Dead Mountain Wilderness, the initial ground-based search and rescue attempt to reach the injured crash victims was unsuccessful. While the crews were regrouping to approach the terrain from a different direction, CareFlight notified ground operations they had been able to locate and successfully evacuate two of the crash victims and would return for the remaining passengers.

All victims were transported to Western Arizona Regional Medical Center for treatment to their injuries that included broken bones, cuts and scrapes.

Sarah Morga-Mangum, spokeswoman for the hospital, said Monday that Snyder, Jennifer Israel and Jacob Israel were treated and released, but Robert Israel was airlifted to Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas with critical injuries.

As of Monday, Israel was still listed as critical inside the Trauma Intentsive Care Unit, according to hospital official.

The exact cause of the crash is still under investigation with the National Safety Transportation Board and the Sheriff’s Aviation Investigation Unit.