The local aviation community and many others are mourning the loss of two local pilots who lost their lives in a plane crash in Shasta Valley.
The Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office has confirmed that two men, Lloyd Rugg and Larry Graves, were killed Wednesday in the early-morning crash of a single engine, fixed-wing aircraft near Montague.
According to the sheriff's office, first reports of a plane crash off Harry Cash road near Hart Road were received around 7 a.m. on Wednesday, June 12.
Neighbors reported hearing a thud or low boom. One neighbor reported seeing a small plane making unusual aerial maneuvers shortly before the crash.
“Upon arrival, deputies found both occupants of the plane deceased,” stated a sheriff’s office press release.
The crash occurred in a hay field about 500 yards from Harry Cash road, just north of Hart Road. Emergency response personnel accessed the crash site via a private driveway, which was closed to the public, though an unrecognizable pile of wreckage was visible from the public road.
Rugg, 55, of Montague, was the owner of Shasta Valley Tire in Montague. Graves, 77, of Yreka was the former owner of Frontier Construction.
“They were both well-known and well-liked members of the community,” one bystander noted.
A neighbor who lives near the crash site and heard the impact Wednesday morning while she was fixing a fence line.
“The whole neighborhood and everyone who knew them is just so shocked and saddened,” she said. “I was just in the tire shop last week talking to Lloyd. He was the most kind, thoughtful and helpful person and one hell of a pilot. Both of them were so well-liked and respected in our communities. We are all praying for the families.”
The men were flying in a Glasair II kit plane, which was completely destroyed by the impact.
The cause of the crash was unknown at press time. The National Transportation Safety Board will be conducting the investigation into the cause, according to the sheriff’s office.
The release also stated, “The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office would like to extend our deepest condolences to the families of Larry and Lloyd.”
The Daily News will continue to provide updates on the tragic occurrence as information becomes available.