Officials investigate fatal El Dorado County plane crash

The NTSB and FAA continued to investigate what led to a plane crash that killed a man and injured another Saturday night.

Sutter Roseville Medical Center said the plane's owner, 55-year-old Richard Nieland, is in serious condition. His brother Perry Nieland, 52, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The accident happened near Swansboro Country Airport in El Dorado County.

Witnesses said they tried to land at the same airport they had taken off from earlier that day.

The fixed wing plane crashed onto a roadway just feet away from several homes in the mountains. The plane took down Violet Jakab's mailbox. "It was like broken in half," said Jakab.

El Dorado County sheriff's deputies said the plane was circling Swansboro airport before it crashed down nearby.

"Swansboro is not an easy airport to land at. He had mentioned he didn't like landing there, he was kind of afraid to land there," said Iris Saxon, a neighbor who saw Nieland at a party inside an airport hangar just hours before the crash. "I just heard that he was going to get some gas," she said.

When Nieland didn't return, one of his friends became concerned.

"She said, 'he's not back yet. That doesn't seem right.' So I just though he was maybe flying around, looking at the area," recalled Saxon.

Neighbors were saddened with news of the tragedy but thankful no other people were injured or homes damaged.

"It didn't look like a very big plane but it doesn't take a very big plane to do a lot of damage," said Saxon.

The coroner's office is expected to release the name of the man killed and a cause of death.


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