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Update from FAA: Pilot escapes injury in plane crash near Modesto Reservoir

A plane drops fire retardant on a grass fire on Monday, Oct. 7, 2019, northeast of Modesto Reservoir, California. The fire was started by a small plane crash.
A plane drops fire retardant on a grass fire on Monday, Oct. 7, 2019, northeast of Modesto Reservoir, California. The fire was started by a small plane crash.

The pilot escaped injury when a small plane crashed Monday in a remote part of eastern Stanislaus County, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

The single-engine Bellanca Citabria went down for an unknown reason at about 5:45 p.m. about two miles northeast of Modesto Reservoir, said an email from Ian Gregor, public affairs manager for the FAA’s Pacific Division.

No one else was on board the plane, which caught fire, he said.

The California Highway Patrol reported that the plane clipped power lines and started a grass fire in the area of Crabtree Road.

Gregor said the FAA’s information is preliminary. This agency and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate.

It was the county’s second aircraft accident in 11 days. A small plane crash-landed onto Highway 99 at Crows Landing Road on Sept. 27. The pilot had minor injuries, and southbound traffic was delayed for a few hours.

John Holland covers breaking news and has been with The Modesto Bee since 2000. He has covered agriculture for the Bee and at newspapers in Sonora and Visalia. He was born and raised in San Francisco and has a journalism degree from UC Berkeley.
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