Site of plane crash at Truckee airport (Photo Courtesy: Reno Gazette Journal)
TRUCKEE, CA - The general manager of the Truckee Tahoe Airport knew the single engine Piper Comanche four seater was in trouble as soon as he saw it Thursday morning.
"It just didn't look quite right," said Kevin Smith who spied the plane as he drove into work. "It was struggling to climb. Why it was struggling to climb I have no idea, there could be lots of factors on that. Then the aircraft impacted our row of hangars over here."
The plane crashed into the top of the hangar and fell through the roof, killing the pilot.
Fuel spilling from the wreckage caused a hazmat situation, but local firecrews and a Placer County hazmat team were quickly on scene.
While the cause of the crash is not known, sometimes the thinner air at the airport's higher altitude can be a challenge for pilots.
"Because we are a high altitude airport, there are air density issues in the morning and evening with air craft so power can be a problem," Truckee Fire Protection District's Paul Spencer said.
The pilot is believed to be from Northern California. His name has not yet been released.
The cause of the crash is being investigated by the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board.
By Jonathan Mumm, email@example.com