GROVELAND: Plane crash victim recuperating in Modesto

Two people were injured Tuesday evening when their single-engine plane crashed into an empty field in Groveland and near the Pine Mountain Lake Airport, the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Department reported today.

The crash occurred about 5:50 p.m. in the field in the 12900 Block of Clements Road, just southeast of the airport.

The pilot, Castro Valley resident Grandille Gaylor, told authorities he was performing “touch and go” maneuvers when he lost engine power, according to sheriff’s spokesman Deputy Paul Tualla.

The aviation maneuver is common training when learning to fly a fixed-wing aircraft, according to The pilot lands the plane on a runway and takes off again without coming to a full stop.

Tualla said Gaylor was flying a 1974 Beechcraft V-35 airplane. Sheriff’s officials, medics and firefighters responded to the crash site.

Tualla said Gaylor suffered cuts on his head but declined medical treatment at the scene.

He said the passenger, Casey Topalian, of Alamo, was injured and airlifted to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto. A hospital spokesman said Topalian was listed in good condition this afternoon.

Tualla said the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration have been notified of the crash.