Plane registered to Fresno man crashes near South Lake Tahoe

FRESNO, Calif.

Federal investigators are at the scene of the crash trying to figure out what went wrong. The single-engine aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff from the airport on Lake Tahoe's south shore last night.

It burst into flames upon impact and sparked a brush fire.

Authorities say much of the wreckage was destroyed, making it difficult to identify the plane and the victims.

Investigators say several witnesses saw the plane having trouble in the air right after it took off last night. Seconds later it dipped and turned before it crashed and ignited into flames. Family members say the owner of the plane died, along with his wife, daughter, and two others.

National Transportation Safety Board investigators are trying to find out what led to the fiery crash.

Federal and local investigators are searching a South Lake Tahoe meadow where the plane clipped large aspen trees and sparked a fire as it plummeted to the ground.

Neighbors say the plane seemed to have engine problems seconds before it dipped downward as it turned.

According to a spokesperson from the Federal Aviation Administration, a Piper PA-32 plane, like this one, departed at 9:45 Saturday night, 3 minutes later the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office says it crashed.

The seven seat single engine plane is registered to Francisco Delamora, of Fresno. Action News reached Delamora's family Sunday and they confirmed he and four others died in the crash.

According to flight records obtained by Action News, the same plane flew from Reno to Fresno's Chandler Airfield just last month.

Investigators say the weather in South Lake Tahoe Saturday night was clear and warm with no wind.

The plane started a one-acre brush fire that was put out by fire crews. El Dorado county sheriff's investigators say so far, the identities of the victims are not being released.

Since the airport is small and the control tower is not monitored all the time, investigators don't even know where the plane was heading since the pilot is not required to file a flight plan.

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