Published Friday, Oct. 8, 2010 | 12:12 p.m.
Updated Friday, Oct. 8, 2010 | 6:17 p.m.
Approximate area of crash
Two people were injured after a small aircraft made an emergency landing late Friday morning near the Blue Diamond community west of the Las Vegas Valley.
The plane landed in brush along the side of State Road 159, near its intersection with Castalia Street. Authorities said its landing gear was torn off in the crash.
Clark County Fire Department Battalion Chief Eric Poleski said a man and a woman were taken to University Medical Center's trauma unit by ground ambulance.
The man had injuries to his face and chest, which Poleski described as critical. He was conscious when the fire department arrived, Poleski said.
The woman was "doing quite well" and although injured, was alert and communicating with rescue crews, Poleski said.
A UMC spokeswoman said the pilot, John W. Jamison, was in critical condition Friday evening. The passenger in the plane, Catherine Jamison, was in serious condition, the spokeswoman said.
According to the Desert Sun newspaper in Palm Springs, Jamison, 81, is a resident of Palm Springs.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said the pilot of the single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza, which was headed to North Las Vegas Airport, told air traffic controllers at 11:38 a.m. that he lost engine power. The plane then went down, he said.
Blue Diamond volunteer firefighters were the first to respond and were treating the occupants when Clark County firefighters arrived.
Dispatchers notified the fire department about a possible lost aircraft at 11:42 a.m., and within minutes it was determined the incident actually involved a downed aircraft, Poleski said. Varying reports indicated the plane might have been on Durango or Pebble before the location was confirmed.
The plane had departed from Palm Springs, Calif., and was registered to Jamison at his Las Vegas address.
Al Ing, who works at the Village Market in Blue Diamond, said he saw the plane in the air moments before the crash. The older model of the plane -- FAA records indicate it was manufactured in 1948 -- and the noise it made caught his attention, he said.
"It wasn't high, but it wasn't low," he said, describing how it was flying. He then went inside the store, where a customer told him a plane had crashed.
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash, with the NTSB taking the lead. It usually takes NTSB investigators months to come up with a probable cause for such accidents. Metro Police also responded to the scene.
State Route 159 was closed during the early afternoon, but reopened at about 2:30 p.m. Friday.
Sun reporter Rich Coleman contributed to this report.