One year since fatal Medford plane crash

MEDFORD, Ore. – Today marks one year since the deadly plane crash at a car dealership next to Medford’s airport.

Police say two people in the plane died: 69-year-old pilot Donald Sefton, and his passenger 67-year-old Valerie Serpa.

The NTSB is investigating the cause of the crash.

It says it could take 12 to 24 months to finish a full report.

The NTSB says it looks at three broad areas in its investigation, the pilot, the airplane, and the operating environment.

“As we rule things out and find things that didn’t play a role in the accident, we’re typically left with just a handful, two, three, sometimes four, issue areas that we can then further dig down into to determine how they played together, how they all came together to cause that accident,” NTSB spokesperson, Peter Knudson said.

According to a preliminary report released by the NTSB in January, there was a cloud layer about 200 feet above ground level on the day of the crash.

Shortly after takeoff from Medford, ground controllers suddenly got a low-altitude alarm from the plane, but there was no response from the pilot.

The NTSB is confident they will be able to determine probable cause and identify any contributing factors to the crash.

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Ethan McReynolds is a reporter and weekend anchor for NBC5 News. He grew up in Bothell, Washington and graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Broadcasting and minors in Journalism and Sport Management. At Gonzaga, he started his own sports podcast. Ethan loves rooting for his hometown Seattle sports teams, especially the Mariners. He loves playing baseball, basketball, and soccer. He is also an avid Taylor Swift fan.
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