Oroville, CA Spyplane Crash Kills Two, Aug 1996
U-2 SPYPLANE CRASH KILLS TWO.
PLANE SLAMS INTO PARKING LOT OF NEWSPAPER BUILDING, KILLING THE PILOT AND AT LEAST ONE PERSON ON THE GROUND.
Oroville, Calif. (AP) - A U-2 spy-plane crashed into a parking lot next to a newspaper building Wednesday, killing the pilot and at least one person on the ground.
Two other people on the ground were slightly injured.
A spokeswoman at Beale Air Force Base, said there was one person on board the high flying jet. Airman Tracy Dubord said the name of the pilot assigned to the 9th Reconnaissance Wing at Beale, was being withheld until next of kin had been notified.
The pilot was CAPT. RANDY D. ROBY.
Dubord said a civilian on the ground also was killed, but said she had no other details immediately available.
Another Air Force spokesman Lt. William Camelo, said the U-2 was on a routine training mission when the pilot radioed the Beale tower and declared an in-flight emergency. The plane crashed a few minutes later, Camelo said.
Witnesses reported seeing a parachute, but Camelo said he could not confirm whether the pilot had ejected.
The plane crashed in a parking lot outside the offices of the Oroville Mercury Register. Julie DeForest, an employee of the newspaper, said a customer leaving the building may have walked out at the moment the airplane plunged to earth.
The newspaper building was evacuated and police spokeswoman Nelda Dillmann said all the newspaper employees were safe.
"We were inside and we heard this huge boom. It shook everything in the store," said Karissa Nelson, a convenience store clerk who works in a building about 300 yards from the crash site.
Robert Frutos, a technician who was working on a radio tower at the time of the crash, said he saw the plane burst into flames while still in flight.
"The wing just blew off and the plane spiraled right down," Frutos said. "It happened real quick."
San Bernardino County Sun California 1996-08-08