NOGALES, AZ (Tucson News Now) - According to Santa Cruz County Sheriff, Tony Estrada, the FAA Investigator looking into the cause of the plane crash near Nogales says the preliminary cause of the crash is that the plane was over its weight restrictions. Estrada says there were too many passengers and luggage on board the plane which was not manufactured to handle the weight.
Sheriff Estrada says the pilot, 57-year-old Mituo Tamayama is in critical condition. Another passenger is in critical condition and the other two are listed as stable. The student pilot is from Japan. All four victims are being treated at the Banner UMC Trauma ICU in Tucson.
First responders rushed to Nogales International Airport after the plane had trouble during takeoff Saturday afternoon. Sheriff Estrada says the small plane landed hard shortly after takeoff.
The pilot suffered the most injuries to his head, according to Estrada. The plane was headed to California when something went wrong, and it grazed the top of a hillside on the way down. Those on board were airlifted to Banner UMC.
First responders from Nogales Suburban Fire District, Rio Rico Medical & Fire District, Tubac Fire District, Patagonia Marshal's Office, Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office and the US Border Patrol all responded to the crash.
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