Joined: 15 Jun 2005
Location: Bakersfield, CA
|Posted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 4:57 pm Post subject: LP man dies in plane crash [Kirk Peek] - January 2006
|LP man dies in plane crash
Kirk Peek loses life en route to Lone Pine from Bishop Tuesday night
The Owens Valley lost one of its most beloved residents this week in the third fatal airplane crash to occur in the Eastern Sierra over the past two months.
Lone Pine resident Truman Kirk Peek, 67, was killed Tuesday night when the private plane he was piloting collided with a hillside south of Big Pine. The single-engine plane, a Cessna 182, caught fire and was completely destroyed.
According to Inyo County Sheriff’s Sgt. Randy Nixon, Peek was en route to Lone Pine Airport from the Eastern Sierra Regional Airport in Bishop when the crash occurred.
It has been speculated that Peek, a member of the Inyo County Board of Education, had flown to Bishop to attend a board meeting at Jill Kinmont Boothe School Tuesday evening. Peek was a longtime Lone Pine resident and the owner of Kirk’s Barber Shop for several decades.
A beloved member of the Southern Inyo community known for his sense of humor and dedication to youth and other local causes, Peek died sometime between 8:30 p.m. and 8:45 p.m.
That’s about the time an individual camping at Tinnemeha campground saw the plane crash only about a quarter-mile east of his or her location, Nixon said. The camper then drove to Big Pine and called authorities, who received word of the crash about 8:55 p.m.
The Cessna according to Nixon had gone down in the area known as Poverty Hills, about 2-3 miles west of U.S. 395 and at an elevation of only 4800 feet. It was the low altitude of the plane that first caught the witness’ attention. “They saw the plane flying along and thought it was unusual because it was so low,” Nixon said. Only moments later the Cessna collided with a hillside and “burst into flames.” The blaze, which burned sage brush, chaparral and almost the whole entire plane, “was contained mostly to the aircraft and immediate vicinity” by members of the Big Pine Volunteer Fire Department, who responded to the scene along with sheriff’s personnel, he said.
Authorities on-scene were able to make out the plane’s identification, which they matched to an overdue flight that had yet to land in Lone Pine.
It is unknown at this time what may have caused the crash, but Nixon did note the weather was favorable Tuesday evening. “It was clear, calm (with) good visibility,” he said. The moon was just rising, so it was a fairly nice night. It was just cold.
When asked, however, Nixon, a pilot, also noted where Peek crashed is “kind of an unusual place” to be flying over the Owens Valley.
Sheriff’s personnel turned the scene of the crash over to the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration at about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. The investigation is ongoing, and it could be months before a cause is determined.
The Inyo Register, Bishop, Inyo County, California
Thursday, January 19, 2006 – Page A-1&5
Transcribed by Charlotte S. Bryant
Posted by Denise S. Flynn
County Coordinator, Inyo County GenWeb