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Fatal Plane Crash in South Lake Tahoe

A single engine Mooney airplane crashed shortly after takeoff from the South Lake Tahoe airport at approximately 11:10 AM Monday.  The plane was observed by numerous witnesses begin to lose altitude after takeoff, and bank sharply into a wooded area east of the airport.  The plane crashed into some large pine trees and flipped over.  The male pilot, Steven Lefton 67 years of age of Palo Alto, CA was killed on impact. His wife, Karen Lefton sustained moderate injuries and was pinned in the wreckage of the plane. Off duty CalStar flight nurse Beth Frisby was walking her dog in the area, and came upon the wreckage. She provided medical aid and comfort to Mrs. Lefton for several minutes until the arrival of El Dorado County Sheriff’s deputies, and medics and firefighters from Lake Valley Fire Department.  The fuel from the crashed plane was leaking from the ruptured fuel tanks in the wings, and fire department personnel sprayed fire retardant foam on to the plane while medics and firefighters were able to remove Mrs. Lefton from the plane wreckage.  She was flown by CalStar to Renown hospital in Reno.  Assisting agencies were Cal Fire, US Forest Service, South Lake Tahoe Fire Department, South Lake Tahoe Police Department, and California Highway Patrol.  Investigators from FAA and NTSB are investigating the cause of the crash.

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