Peninsula News

NTSB releases report on East Palo Alto plane crash

Thursday, February 25, 2010
A pilots group is urging all planes to use a new route when they take off to avoid an East Palo Alto neighborhood. PG&E crews preparing to move three high tension lines over to a new tower replacing the one struck by the Cessna 310R Wednesday morning.

The National Transportation Safety Board has released a preliminary report on last week's plane crash in East Palo Alto that killed three Tesla employees.

The report states the twin-engine Cessna 310 struck power lines and a PG&E tower about 50 feet above ground at 7:54 a.m. on Feb. 17 shortly after departing from Palo Alto Airport. The aircraft had been headed to Hawthorne, California.

The three men on the plane, Douglas Bourn, 56, of Santa Clara; Brian Finn, 42, of East Palo Alto; and Andrew Ingram, 31, of Palo Alto, died in the crash. No one on the ground was injured.

A woman walking on a nearby levee on the morning of the crash saw an airplane "suddenly appear from the fog" to her left, and watched as the plane flew at a low altitude until it hit the power lines, according to the report.

Debris from the crash was scattered on Beech Street, with some parts falling onto homes. Two houses, several parked cars and some vegetation caught fire.

The debris path spanned about 900 feet from the where the plane hit the power lines, according to the report. All of the plane's major structural components have been recovered.

The three transmission lines affected by the crash supply power to Palo Alto, and the city was without power all day on Feb. 17. Palo Alto operates its own utilities but the transmission lines are owned by PG&E.

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