Willits, CA Private Plane Crash, Sep 2001


The Daily Journal.
Two San Mateo County residents died and two others were injured, one critically, after their plane crashed at the Willits Airport around 2 p.m. Sunday.
LAWRENCE FARNAN, 43, was pronounced dead at the scene.
His sister-in-law, PAMA MELTZ-FARNAN, 42, was pronounced dead at U.C. Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, where she was flown by helicopter.
FARNAN'S brother, and MELTZ-FARNAN'S husband, MICHAEL FARNAN, was in "extremely critical condition" at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital as of Monday evening.
LAWRENCE FARNAN'S 9-year-old daughter, also a passenger in the plane, is reportedly in stable condition at Children's Hospital in Oakland.
It's not known whether LAWRENCE or MICHAEL was flying the plane, according to Mendocino County Sheriff's Lt. Kurt Smallcomb.
He said both were in front seats.
The plane, reportedly an older Cessna 206B, was registered to MICHAEL FARNAN.
According to Melissa Perez, who works at the airport and witnessed the crash, the plane was touching down on the runway when it bounced a fairly common occurrence.
But it apparently caused the pilot to decide to accelerate and take off again so he could try another landing.
"He gave it full power. He decided not to land," Perez said.
But, at this point, the air strip's
notorious afternoon crosswind caught the plane and the pilot was unable to counteract it, she said.
Perez said the plane was too low and the nose too high as the pilot fought the wind.
By then, the plane had drifted too far off the east side of the runway. When it was about 50 feet in the air, it hit a grove of trees, losing its right wing in the process.
The plane continued through the trees like a chainsaw, then crashed on the far side of the grove.

Ukiah Daily Journal California 2001-09-11