Calaveras Enterprise

Pilot, 80, passenger, 50, survive Mt. Ranch area plane crash

The two survivors of a private airplane crash near Mountain Ranch on Tuesday afternoon are recovering from their injuries.

The white Cessna 172 was traveling from San Diego to Auburn when it went down.

A resident of Swiss Ranch Road who saw the plane coming in low over the area first alerted authorities around 3:15 p.m.

Calaveras County Sheriff’s Deputies and members of Ebbetts Pass Search and Rescue, the California Department of Forestry, the Central Calaveras Fire and Rescue Protection District, and the California Highway Patrol converged on the area.

A CHP helicopter also joined in the hunt.

Shortly after the search began, the CHP received a 911 call from the plane’s passenger, who said he had a broken ankle and the pilot was suffering chest pains.

With the caller’s assistance, the helicopter was able to locate the downed plane.

The pilot, Donald Oliver, 80, of San Diego was flown to Sutter Roseville Hospital, where he was listed in fair condition Thursday.

The passenger, 50-year-old Bruce Hasslinger, also of San Diego, spent two nights at Mark Twain St. Joseph’s Hospital in San Andreas before being released Thursday morning.

Oliver managed to land the plane at the tree line of a meadow off Sheep Ranch Road, shearing off the left wing and the tip of the right, said sheriff’s detective Gary Stevens.

A total of 11 officers conducted the search on the ground aided by fire protection personnel and the two CHP officers in the helicopter, Stevens said.

Cause of the crash is not known and is being investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration.

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