The medical transport airplane that crashed in Nevada appears to have broken apart while still in the air, according to investigators.
The single-engine Pilatus PC-12, operated by Reno-based air ambulance company Care Flight, went down on Friday while transporting a patient from Reno to Salt Lake City, according to the Associated Press and CNN.
Five people were killed in the crash in Stagecoach, Nevada, according to a previous statement from Care Flight, a service of Guardian Flight and REMSA Health.
At a news conference on Sunday, NTSB Vice Chair Bruce Landsberg said investigators “found parts of the airplane one-half to three-quarters of a mile away” from the crash site, the AP reported.
“This is like a three-dimensional puzzle,” Landsberg said, noting that it’s unclear how the plane came apart. “It’s harder when you don’t have the pieces all in one place.”
Care Flight previously identified the victims of Friday’s crash as a pilot, a flight nurse, a flight paramedic, a patient and one of the patient’s family members.
All five victims have since been identified by friends and family on GoFundMe. Among them is Ryan Watson, who became a father on Jan. 19.
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“Ryan had an infectious personality,” wrote Savanah Green, who organized the campaign on behalf of Watson’s wife Kailey. Green said the late flight paramedic “was hilarious, ambitious, and free-spirited” in life.
“He loved traveling the world and going on extreme adventures outside of work with his beautiful wife Kailey, Family, and Friends,” she added.
The pilot, Scott Walton, was “the main financial provider” for his wife and three daughters, according to a fundraiser for his family.
“Transporting patients to receive life-saving care was an absolute passion and life’s mission for Scott,” wrote the pilot’s sister-in-law Katie Walton, who organized the campaign.
“He was one of those special people who lit up a room, who brought smiles to everyone’s face, who never met a stranger,” she added.
Also killed was Ed Pricola, the flight nurse on the plane involved in Friday’s crash. Pricola first started working with Care Flight last fall, according to Kleine Calvo, who organized the campaign.
“It’s no surprise that Ed, at 32 years old, was helping others when his life was taken far too soon from all of his loved ones,” Calvo wrote.
Pricola leaves behind his wife Lauren and two children — daughter Riley, 4, and son Everett, 2 — according to the GoFundMe campaign.
Patient Mark Rand and his wife Terri are also among the victims. The two were on their way to Utah, where Mark was hoping to receive “life saving medical treatment” for an undisclosed ailment, according to their GoFundMe.
“What was supposed to be a saving grace, ended in tragedy for the Rand family and the families of the crew and first responders on board,” wrote Misty Gruenemay, who organized the campaign.
“Mark and Terri were big hearted, family oriented, proud parents and grandparents,” she added.
Friday’s crash occurred while the Reno area was under a winter storm warning, according to the reports. Winds were said to be blowing at around 20 mph, and visibility was reportedly under two miles.
Investigators are expected to remain at the crash site for several days as they work to piece together both the plane and the timeline of the crash, according to the AP.