David BendaEthan Hanson – Redding Record Searchlight
A single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza with four people on board crashed Thursday morning in west Redding across from Benton Airpark, authorities said.
Two people on board were killed and two were injured in the crash, Lt. Brian Cole of the Redding Police Department said. One of the people killed was identified late Thursday afternoon as Mike Garrett, owner of Heavenly Donuts in Redding.
“We initially got calls from citizens about a possible plane crash or explosion on the north side of Benton Airpark down into this hillside. There were four people on the plane, two of them were taken to Mercy Medical Center for significant injuries and we have two individuals that are deceased,” Cole said Thursday morning.
Cole said the four people on board were adults.
“We have no knowledge of the gender at this point,” he said. “The (Shasta County) Coroner’s office is doing a next-of-kin notification and then we’ll put out a press release later. But we won’t have that until the families have been notified.”
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said the plane crashed into a ravine around 6:45 a.m. after taking off from the airport.
Debra Fox, a close friend of the Garrett family, said Mike is survived by his wife, Katie, and sons Trevor and Nathan.
Authorities at this point do not know what caused the crash.
“We don’t have any information right now and I would imagine it would be awhile,” Cole said.
Firefighters put out a half-acre vegetation fire that started where the aircraft went down.
Neighbor Charlene Williams was inside her house on Placer Street when the crash happened.
“I was sitting on the couch and I heard this big crash and I had to run and put some clothes on because I wasn’t dressed yet and then I came out and I saw giant pillars of smoke and fire and everybody pulling up,” Williams said.
Gregor said the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating the crash.
“The FAA will release the tail number of the aircraft after investigators verify it at the accident site,” Gregor said.
The NTSB will not be going to Redding to investigate crash, rather the agency will work with local authorities to gather information, NTSB spokesman Terry Williams said.
“We understand there were several witnesses and we will be working on gathering statements from them,” Williams said.
Placer Street was closed in both both directions at Pleasant Street and Airpark Drive but has since re-opened to one-way traffic each way, according to authorities.
The last major crash at Benton Airpark occurred nearly two years ago when a man and his dog were killed when his Cessna 150 crashed in a canyon just north of the airport.
The deadly crash happened on Aug. 29, 2018, after the plane had taken off on a Wednesday morning.
The pilot killed in the crash was later identified as Richard Joseph Engel, 71, of Shingletown.