March 18, 2018 – This morning just before 9am, Yuba County Sheriff responded to the scene of a small plane accident along the edge of the Yuba River just west of Sycamore Ranch in Browns Valley. A witness that was shooting on private property along the river called 911 to report seeing a low flying plane on fire crash into the river.
The plane’s single occupant, 66 year old pilot Timothy Bennett, was able to exit the cockpit of the plane and was sitting on top of the aircraft which was in approximately 3 feet of water in a side channel along the main channel of the Yuba River. He was conscious and talking, as the witness called for rescue.
CHP helicopter H20 responded to the area and landed and rescued the pilot from the plane and transported him to higher ground nearby where other rescue personnel were waiting to treat the pilot. He was transported by ambulance to a Sacramento area hospital for treatment of what appeared to be minor scrapes and burns, and a possible broken ankle.
The witness reported having seen the small plane, a “Piper Cub”, circling the area prior to hearing a small explosion then seeing the plane on fire and quickly losing altitude before crashing. Initial investigation indicates the plane struck power lines in the area. PG&E on scene advised approximately 16 houses experienced a loss of power and crews will be on scene to restore power but with no estimated time of repair reported.
The plane had departed the Lincoln airport and the pilot was reportedly on a scenic recreational flight. The FAA will investigate the accident and Yuba County Sheriff’s Office and OES are arranging for the plane to be removed from the river at this time. Fish and Wildlife officials on scene had no concern for environmental impact to the river.