Volunteer Placerville Pilot Killed Flying Woman, Teen to Palo Alto Children’s Hospital

PLACERVILLE -- A Placerville pilot has been identified as the man killed in a Northern California plane crash.

W. John Spencer (Credit: Angel Flight West)

Palo Alto authorities say the plane crashed into a pond near the airport Tuesday, killing him and leaving two passengers, a mother and daughter, were injured.

"We are very saddened to lose one of our angels in John" said Josh Olson, executive director of Angel Flight West.

Angel Flight West identified the man killed near a Palo Alto airport Tuesday as W. John Spencer.

Spencer was flying a mother and her teenage daughter to a surgery at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, according to the Associated Press.

"In this particular case, he was helping a family get from Redding to Palo Alto when this specific accident happened," Olson said.

Angel Flight West released a statement on the flight, saying in part:

"John began volunteering as a pilot for Angel Flight West in 2014 and has served over 75 families with 125 donated flights to help them access health and hope. He will be greatly missed by the staff at Angel Flight West and his fellow volunteers."

Palo Alto authorities say Spencer's single-engine plane crashed into a pond while trying to land.

"I am so thankful that the two passengers that he had are OK," said Spencer's neighbor Teri Barr. "That’s got to give just such comfort to his wife."

Neighbors who knew Spencer say he was kind-hearted.

"We’re all in shock, we're devastated," Barr said.

Now, the community is working to keep his memory alive and his love for volunteering.

"We want to offer our condolences to John's family and the family of all involved," Olson said.

The other two passengers are recovering from injuries.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

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