Five killed after medical plane crashes near Nevada mountains

Five people — including a patient and a medic who was a new father — were killed when a mercy flight crashed in bad weather in a mountainous region of Nevada on Friday night, officials said.

The fixed-wing Care Flight aircraft vanished from flight radar near Stagecoach around 9:45 p.m., shortly after Lyon County Sheriff dispatchers received calls for a possible plane crash, the department said.

It took rescue crews about 90 minutes to locate the downed plane in the small community 45 miles southeast of Reno.

“We are heartbroken to report that we have now received confirmation from Central Lyon County Fire Department that none of the five people on board survived,” REMSA Health, the Reno-based medical flight service operator, said in a statement Saturday.

“The five people on board were a pilot, a flight nurse, a flight paramedic, a patient and a patient’s family member.”

Though officials have not yet publicly named the crash victims, the family of new father Ryan Watson, 27, identified him as the flight paramedic killed in the tragedy.

Ryan Watson and wife Kailey.
Ryan Watson, 27, was the flight paramedic killed in the crash, his family said.
Savanah Green/GoFundMe

“Ryan was a loving Husband, New Father, Son, Brother, Friend, and an incredible care provider whose dedication to his family and community was unmatched,” his family wrote in a GoFundMe.

“Ryan loved being a Flight Medic and brought a positive attitude to every call and patient interaction he had. Ryan had an infectious personality; he was hilarious, ambitious, and free-spirited. He loved traveling the world and going on extreme adventures outside of work with his beautiful wife Kailey, Family, and Friends.”

According to the post, Watson leaves behind a newborn son who was born just one month ago.

Officials have not revealed the circumstances around the plane ride or why the patient had been boarded. The FAA could not disclose where the plane was traveling to or from.

Rescuers respond to the scene.
A pilot, a flight nurse, a flight paramedic, a patient and a patient’s family member were on board.


Several local and state agencies staged a motorcade to escort the bodies of those killed in the crash.

The plane crashed during a winter storm warning issued by the National Weather Service in Reno for large swaths of Nevada, including Lyon County.

Heavy snow was expected that evening, with wind gusts of up to 65 mph and periods of whiteout conditions between 4 a.m. Friday and 4 a.m. Sunday.

“It’s a pretty mountainous region,” Lyon County Sgt. Nathan Cooper said. “Especially with the weather being the way it is right now, it’s not very good.”

Rescuers respond to the scene.
The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

Care Flight identified the downed aircraft as a Pilatus PC-12 airplane. FAA records show the aircraft was manufactured in 2002.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

With Post Wires

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