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Report: Plane struck power lines before crashing, killing 4


Federal investigators say a medical transport plane struck power lines on a cloudy day before crashing last month near San Diego, killing two flight nurses and two pilots

The Learjet 35A crashed on December 27 while preparing to land at Gillespie Field in El Cajon, according to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board.

The weather was cloudy and hazy when the plane struck power lines and then crashed into the yard of a house in the unincorporated area of ​​San Diego County at about 2.4 kilometers east of the track, according to the report.

The report did not indicate the exact cause of the accident, which will await the final report.

No one on the ground was injured.

The crash killed pilots Douglas Grande, 42, and Julian Bugaj, 67, and flight nurses Christina Ward, 52, and Laurie Gentz, 68. They worked for Aeromedevac Air Ambulance, according to the El Cajon-based company.

The jet was registered to El Cajon-based Med Jet LLC, according to Federal Aviation Administration records.

The plane had flown that day from Lake Havasu in Arizona to Orange County, south of Los Angeles, for a patient transfer and was returning to its home base at Gillespie Field when it crashed, according to the NTSB report.

Radio communications between the jet aircraft and the aerodrome showed that the pilot canceled an instrument flight rules approach to a runway and requested a runway change using visual flight rules.

Once the switch was tuned and further instructions given, the pilot requested that the field lights be on and was told they were already at 100%.

The report said the plane flew over the airport at low altitude and did not climb significantly while turning to approach the terrain.

Just before the crash, the pilot suddenly exclaimed three times and screamed, according to communications recorded by LiveATC.net.

ABC News

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