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Mon, Dec 31, 2007

Cirrus Sales Rep Lost In SR22 Accident

Witnesses Say Plane Did Barrel Roll Before Impact 

Aero-News is was extremely saddened to report the loss of Thom Leveque, West Coast regional sales representative for Cirrus Design, in an accident late Sunday morning near the community of Creston, CA.

Citing witness reports, The San Luis Obispo Tribune states the accident aircraft -- confirmed by ANN as an SR22 Turbo -- was performing barrel rolls shortly before the accident. County officials received several calls about the accident at 1140 PST Sunday.

Investigators with the NTSB and FAA have not corroborated witness accounts.

The plane impacted sloping terrain on Pine Hills Ranch. Hal Holzinger, owner of the property, said his neighbors saw the aircraft buzz a home less than one mile from the accident site, before the crash.

"We heard an engine that sounded like it was racing and then a thud," added neighbor David Butler, who didn’t see the accident.

Fuel spilled along one wing of the aircraft sparked a small fire, which was contained by neighbors and fire crews. The pilot's body was found away from the wreckage.

Based on the nature of the debris field, members of the county Sheriff’s Department search-and-rescue team said the plane 'pancaked' into the ridgeline. Investigators found skid marks leading to the wreckage, and two of the plane’s tires were found about a quarter-mile apart.

FMI: www.faa.gov

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