Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Piper PA-32R-301T Saratoga II TC, N323PA: Fatal accident occurred December 22, 2015 in Castro Valley, California

John J. Sacco: http://registry.faa.gov/N323PA

NTSB Identification: WPR16FA042 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, December 22, 2015 in Castro Valley, CA
Aircraft: PIPER PA32R, registration: N323PA
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On December 22, 2015, about 1127 Pacific standard time, a Piper PA32R-301T, N323PA, was destroyed when it impacted terrain near Castro Valley, California, while conducting an instrument approach to Metropolitan Oakland International Airport (OAK), Oakland, California. The private pilot was fatally injured. Instrument meteorological conditions were present in the area, and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the flight, which departed Lincoln Municipal Airport (LHM), Lincoln, California, about 1050. The airplane was registered to, and operated by, the pilot as a personal flight operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. 

Preliminary air traffic control (ATC) radar and radio communication data from the Federal Aviation Administration revealed that about 1122, ATC cleared the airplane for the instrument landing system (ILS) approach to runway 28R at OAK. The pilot was instructed to turn right to a heading of 260 degrees to intercept the localizer, and to descend and maintain an altitude of 3,400 feet until established on the approach. The pilot acknowledged the clearance and began descending, but did not initiate the right turn. ATC subsequently contacted the pilot and again provided a heading to intercept the localizer. The pilot acknowledged and the airplane turned, but continued to track toward the airport south of the localizer course. About 1125, ATC asked the pilot if the airplane was established on the localizer, to which the pilot replied, "I'm re-establishing." When the controller asked the pilot if he was receiving the glideslope indication, the pilot stated that he was "off glideslope" and "too high." At this time, the airplane's altitude was 2,600 feet; the minimum altitude for that segment of the approach was 3,400 feet.

The controller issued a low altitude alert, cancelled the approach clearance, and instructed the pilot to turn right to a heading of 300 degrees and to climb and maintain an altitude of 4,000 feet. The pilot acknowledged, however, the airplane began a left turn to the south and did not climb. ATC subsequently instructed the pilot to turn north to a heading of 360 degrees, and asked the pilot to verify that the airplane was climbing and turning north. The pilot replied "360 and climbing." The airplane made a right turn to the north and climbed to 3,600 feet before it began descending. Shortly after, during a partially-blocked transmission, the pilot indicated that he was "losing it." No further transmissions were received from the accident airplane, and radar contact was lost about 1 minute later.

The accident site was located on a heavily-wooded hillside about 12 nautical miles southeast of OAK, at an elevation of about 1,400 feet. The initial impact point was identified by several fallen trees and large branches. From the initial impact point, the wreckage path extended downhill about 300 feet on a magnetic heading of about 330 degrees. The cockpit and cabin area was largely consumed by a post-crash fire. Terrain at the accident site, as well as the heavy fragmentation of the wreckage, precluded thorough examination; the wreckage was recovered to a secure facility for examination at a later date. 

The 1126 automated weather observation at Livermore Municipal Airport (LVK), Livermore, California, located about 8 miles east of the accident site, included wind from 260 degrees at 15 knots, 10 miles visibility, broken cloud layers at 1,300 and 3,200 feet, temperature 15 degrees C, dew point 12 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 29.82 inches of mercury.

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Oakland FSDO-27

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email eyewitnessreport@ntsb.gov,  and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov


John Sacco
~

CASTRO VALLEY -- Nightfall and weather conditions have put off efforts to recover a pilot's body among wreckage believed to belong to a small plane that went down Tuesday afternoon near the Sunol and Castro Valley border.

Alameda County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Ray Kelly cited the plane's location in a rugged and deep canyon off Palomares Road, as well as recent rainy weather conditions.

The Federal Aviation Administration and NTSB National Transportation Safety Board "are aware of the situation," Kelly said Tuesday evening. "They have been notified due to terrain and nightfall that we are not going to recover wreckage until morning. As you know, rains and winds are high today, which creates safety concerns for us. The fact that we found the site is a miracle given the weather."

Kelly said sheriff's deputies will remain to secure the scene overnight and that safety crews will begin efforts early Wednesday with Alameda County Fire Department crews and NTSB personnel.

Air traffic controllers lost radar and radio contact with the pilot of a Piper PA-32 single-engine plane around 11:30 a.m. as the plane was en route from Lincoln in Placer County to Oakland, according to Federal Aviation Administration public affairs spokesman Ian Gregor.

The aircraft was about 12 miles east of Oakland International Airport when contact was lost, Gregor said.

The Alameda County Fire Department received reports of a downed aircraft near Sunol at 12:02 p.m., fire spokeswoman Aisha Knowles said.

Knowles said a single body was found at the crash site Tuesday afternoon.

Two Alameda County Fire Department firefighters suffered injuries during the search. The firefighters were evaluated at the hospital and returned to duty Tuesday night.

Alameda County Fire Department, Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department, CalFire, East Bay Regional Park District police and fire and Paramedics Plus crews joined efforts to find the plane off Palomares Road, Knowles said.

East Bay Regional Park District spokeswoman Carolyn Jones said the district's helicopter, Eagle, was part of Tuesday's search.

"Around 12:30 p.m., the FAA called us and the Alameda County Sheriff asking for assistance in finding the plane," Jones said. "They know all those trails, the staff that works up there knows every square inch of that place. The helicopter crews comb the land regularly to look for lost people or marijuana grows."

Just after 2:30 p.m., searchers put out a call to East Bay fire agencies for help with the search process.

"It's so those available would come out to help support the management of the incident," Knowles said. "The other difficult part is that it's a somewhat remote area."

Story and video:  http://www.contracostatimes.com






Crews late Tuesday suspended the recovery of a small plane that crashed in a rural area of Alameda County.

A body was also found at the scene of the wreckage and officials believe it is likely the pilot and owner of the plane, 60-year-old John Sacco.

Search crews located the wreckage earlier in the afternoon on Palomares Road in Castro Valley, Alameda County Fire Department spokeswoman Aisha Knowles said.

At 11:25 a.m., the plane was traveling at 74 knots, but slowed dramatically to 39 knots a minute later, sources told NBC Bay Area. The pilot reportedly lost contact with air traffic control three minutes later, sources said.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said air traffic controllers lost radar and radio contact with the plane, a Piper PA-32, about 12 miles east of Oakland International Airport around 11:30 a.m.

The Alameda County Fire Department received reports of a downed aircraft, which was traveling from Lincoln in Placer County to Oakland, at 12:02 p.m., Knowles said. 

Sources said that the plane's tail number is N323PA. The single-engine aircraft belongs to Sacco, a well-known businessman in the Sacramento-area, who was appointed to the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board in August.

Sacco's LinkedIn profile indicates that he owns Earthshine Consulting, which is based in Rocklin. There is no word yet on whether he was flying the plane when it went down.

Firefighters from both the Alameda County and Livermore-Pleasanton fire departments searched for the plane with assistance from Cal Fire, the Alameda County Sheriff's Office and East Bay Regional Park District, Knowles said. Officials, unable to use choppers due to inclement weather, instead relied on ground crews and a drone to look for the plane.

"The best situation for us to find a plane is to deploy another aircraft to find it," Alameda County Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. J.D. Nelson said. "But today with the fog and the rain made it very difficult."

Two Alameda County firefighters suffered non life-threatening injuries during the ground search for the downed plane.

It is not known what caused the small plane to crash near the Sunol and Castro Valley border. Aviation expert Mike McCarron said there are many factors, including weather, that come into play when an aircraft goes down.

"It's very changeable," McCarron said of weather conditions. "It's a critical factor for any tpe of plane, whether it be commercial or general."

Tuesday's incident comes two days after another single-engine plane, carrying a family of five from Gilroy, crashed near Bakersfield.

Crews are scheduled to resume recovery efforts of the plane wreckage in Castro Valley on Wednesday morning.

Story and video:  http://www.nbcbayarea.com



CASTRO VALLEY, Calif. (KGO) -- Efforts to recover the body of a pilot after his small plane crashed in Alameda County just miles from Oakland International Airport are on hold Tuesday night.

Sheriff's deputies say the plane went down in steep terrain. That, combined with the darkness and the recent rain, will delay the operation until Wednesday morning.

John Sacco was on his way to Oakland from Lincoln in Placer County. He lost contact with air traffic control around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Search crews found the wreckage in a deep canyon near Palomares Road in Castro Valley.

Officials believe weather may have played a role in the crash.

"It's a fairly large area of wreckage, looks like the plane may have clipped some treetops before crashing into the ground. It's a very rough, difficult terrain. It's probably had 3 inches of rain in the last 24 hours, so it's very muddy, slippery, difficult to get to," Alameda County Sheriff's Dept. spokesperson J.D. Nelson said.



Deputies will remain to secure the scene overnight.

Story and video:  http://abc7news.com




ALAMEDA COUNTY (CBS SF) — The pilot of a small plane who was presumed dead after the plane crashed in a rural area of Castro Valley Tuesday has been identified as John Sacco, according to family.

Sacco, a resident of Rocklin, was the sole person on board the single-engine plane, family told KPIX 5.


Crews recovered the wreckage of the plane off Palomares Road Tuesday afternoon. The plane was found in bushy terrain and crews are working on determining what resources are needed to recover it, county fire spokeswoman Aisha Knowles said.


The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office will be taking over the recovery efforts, Knowles said.


Fire crews started looking for the Piper PA-32 single-engine plane after air traffic controllers lost contact with the pilot at about 11:30 a.m., according to the Federal Aviation Administration.


Alameda County Fire Officials said that Sacco reported having engine trouble just before losing contact with air traffic controllers.


The plane was en route from Lincoln in Placer County to Oakland but was lost about 12 miles east of Oakland International Airport, FAA officials said.


The Alameda County Fire Department received reports of a downed aircraft near Sunol at 12:02 p.m. and began a ground search for it since fog prevented them from searching by air, Knowles said.


Fire officials said at about 3:45 p.m. that firefighters and sheriff’s deputies had located the wreckage of the plane.


Two firefighters were injured while searching for the plane, one with a leg injury and another with a shoulder injury, Knowles said. Neither injury is considered life-threatening.


Firefighters with the Alameda County department, the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department, Oakland fire and Cal Fire assisted with the search along with the sheriff’s office and the East Bay Regional Park District.


Story and video:  http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com




SUNOL (KRON) — Fire crews are looking for a possibly crashed aircraft in the Sunol area of Alameda County Tuesday afternoon.

At around 3:45 p.m., the Alameda County Fire Department tweeted wreckage from the missing plane has been located near Palomares Road in Castro Valley. The plane was found in bushy terrain.


The Alameda County Fire Department received reports of a downed aircraft in the area at 12:02 p.m.


The pilot of the plane is presumed dead, a fire spokeswoman said.ktxlpilot


Family identified the pilot as John Sacco. Family members said he owns an environmental consulting firm called Earthshine Consulting.


The family also said he usually flies to the Bay Area for business. Sacco was described as very experienced with flying planes.


The remains have not yet been officially identified by authorities.


A body found at the scene of a small plane crash in a rural area of Alameda County today is believed to be the pilot’s, a fire spokeswoman said.


Air traffic controllers lost contact with the pilot of a Piper PA-32 single-engine plane at about 11:30 a.m. as the plane was en route from Lincoln in Placer County to Oakland, according to Ian Gregor, a spokesperson with Federal Aviation Administration.


The plane was about 12 miles east of Oakland International Airport, FAA officials said.


Images from the scene show heavy fog in the area.


Crews are still working to confirm the reports and find the aircraft. Firefighters from both the Alameda County department and the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department are searching for it, fire spokeswoman Aisha Knowles.


Two firefighters were injured in the search, but the injuries are not life-threatening.



The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office will be taking over the recovery efforts, Knowles said.

Story and video:  http://kron4.com


CASTRO VALLEY, Calif. (KTVU/BCN) - Alameda County Fire crews reported Tuesday afternoon that they had located the wreckage from a missing single engine plane off of Palomares Road in Castro Valley. Officials say the body found near the wreckage is presumed to be the pilot's. 

The Sheriff's department confirms he was the only person on board. Family members confirmed to a Fox TV station affiliate in Sacramento that the pilot's identity was that of 60-year-old John Sacco of Rocklin. He was an industrial hygienist and safety engineer for Earthshine Consulting.

Crews won’t be able to recover the body until the weather clears, possibly on Wednesday. First responders said heavy fog was a major issue in their search for wreckage. Dozens of firefighters, deputies and other personnel, hiked, used ATVs and even a drone in their search for the missing plane. 

Photo Wreckage from single engine plane found in Castro Valley, pilot identified
Air traffic controllers lost contact with the pilot of a Piper PA-32 single-engine plane at about 11:30 a.m. as the plane was en route from Lincoln in Placer County to Oakland, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

"It looks like the plane may have clipped some treetops before crashing into the ground," said J.D. Nelson, Alameda County Sheriff's Dept. spokesman. He added it was difficult terrain. 

The plane was about 12-miles east of Oakland International Airport, FAA officials said.

The Alameda County Fire Department received reports of a downed aircraft near Sunol at 12:02 p.m., fire spokeswoman Aisha Knowles said.

Alameda County Fire Department Battalion Chief Jeff Kramm said they found the wreckage after spotting a small amount of smoke. He said there was heavy timber, brush and a muddy slope. 

"It was a heavy impact," Kramm said. 

Story and video:  http://www.ktvu.com


An Alameda County sheriff’s official said the sole occupant of a single-engine plane believed to have been en route from Lincoln was found dead Tuesday afternoon in the wreckage near Castro Valley.

Sgt. J.D. Nelson, a spokesman for the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, said the plane was found in pieces in a hilly, wooded area about 4 p.m. He said the only person on board, a man, was deceased. Nelson said the man has not been identified, and he said the body might not be brought out until Wednesday morning, explaining that the wreckage is in a precarious location. Two firefighters suffered injuries trying to reach the site, he said.

A family member confirmed that the registered owner of the plane is John J. Sacco of Earthshine Consulting and said Sacco had been unreachable by phone.

Fire and law enforcement agencies had been searching the unincorporated area of Alameda County for an airplane that was reported in distress Tuesday morning.

Aisha Knowles, spokeswoman for the Alameda County Fire Department, said the pilot of a single-engine aircraft radioed air traffic controllers in Oakland that the plane was experiencing an engine problem. The department reported shortly before 4 p.m. that the wreckage had been found off Palomares Road.

Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said air traffic controllers lost radar and radio contact with a Piper PA-32 about 12 miles east of Oakland International Airport about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday. He said the FAA issued an alert notice, the first step in initiating a search.

Alameda County fire officials said limited visibility in the area prevented an air search

Story and video: http://www.sacbee.com




SUNOL, Calif. (AP) —A small plane that disappeared Tuesday while traveling to Oakland was found crashed hours later, and a body has been found among the wreckage, the Alameda County Fire Department said.

The wreckage of the plane from Lincoln was found in Castro Valley Tuesday afternoon.

The plane was found in bushy terrain, and crews are working to determine what resources are needed to recover it, county fire spokeswoman Aisha Knowles said.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the plane -- with tail number N323PA -- was registered to John Sacco, of Rocklin. It is not confirmed if Sacco was flying the plane.

Sacco's family said they have not heard anything from police about the identity of the person found at the crash site. Sacco, who is an entrepreneur and certified industrial hygienist, helps firms understand and avoid occupational health hazards.

FAA officials said air traffic controllers lost radar and radio contact with a Piper PA-32 about 12 miles east of Oakland International Airport Tuesday morning. The pilot reported engine problems before the crash.

Knowles said the department received reports of a downed aircraft, which was traveling from Lincoln to Oakland.

Fire officials said at about 3:45 p.m., firefighters and sheriff's deputies had located the wreckage of the plane.

Two firefighters were injured trying to avoid a falling tree that was damaged when the plane crashed against it. Their injuries were non-life threatening.

The crash comes two days after a single-engine plane, carrying a family of five from Gilroy, crashed near Bakersfield, killing everyone on board.

Story and video:  http://www.kcra.com

Emergency teams operate from a Sunol unified command post.


 Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department Battalion Chief Paul Legasa leads a search for a reported missing single engine plane from a command center along Palomares Road near Niles Canyon Road in Sunol, Calif., Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015. The plane's wreckage was found by a ground search party in an area off of Pa lomares Road in Castro Valley.











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