Plane crash at Las Vegas Municipal Airport in northeastern New Mexico, USA

Plane Crash Alert

Four family members were injured when a plane crashed Wednesday night while landing at the Las Vegas Municipal Airport in northeastern New Mexico, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

Emergency responders airlifted the plane’s owner and pilot, James Fretham, 50, of Chanhassen, Minn., to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center in Santa Fe, where FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford said he was in critical condition late Wednesday.

Elizabeth Fretham, 49, Caitrin Fretham, 21, and a 15-year-old girl suffered minor injuries and were released from the hospital Wednesday night.

The plane, which had flown from Ames, Iowa, crashed at about 6:30 p.m., Lunsford said.

Christian Montaño, the Las Vegas, N.M., police chief, said officials haven’t determined what caused the crash. The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board arrived at the scene Thursday morning to begin an investigation, Lunsford said.

“It usually takes months to determine a cause,” Lunsford said. “Aviation accidents are analyzed very methodically,” and the investigation “involves understanding multiple aspects, including the pilot’s actions, possible wind or weather effects, and the mechanical state of the plane.”

The National Weather Service said that at about 6 p.m. Wednesday, winds were blowing southeast at 14 mph, and it was mostly cloudy in Las Vegas. No rain was reported there between 6 and 7 p.m., the National Weather Service said.


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