NTSB releases report on French Valley plane crash that killed man, injured his three sons

City News Service
Sunday, July 23, 2023
ABC7 Eyewitness News
Stream Southern California's News Leader and Original Shows 24/7

FRENCH VALLEY, Calif. (CNS) -- A single-engine airplane stalled, rolled inverted and then crashed next to a building during a touch-and-go landing at French Valley Airport, killing the pilot and severely injuring his sons, according to federal investigators.

The National Transportation Safety Board on Thursday released its preliminary report on the July 4 crash that killed 39-year-old Jared Alan Newman of Temecula and left his sons -- Caleb, Connor and Elijah Newman -- with major injuries.

According to the NTSB's initial findings, Newman was flying the Cessna 172N in the pattern at French Valley just before 2 p.m. on the holiday and was performing what appeared to be a touch-and-go on Runway 18 when he apparently lost control.

"The airplane touched down on the runway for one to two seconds, and then immediately entered a climb in a nose-high attitude as it drifted left of the runway," the NTSB said. "After the airplane reached about 60 feet above ground level, it began to settle and subsequently entered a left-wing low attitude. The airplane rolled inverted and then ... (crashed) in an industrial complex."

Investigators relied on an airport surveillance camera and an eyewitness to gather preliminary data on the accident.

The witness, whose identity was not disclosed, said he observed the entire chain of events, noting that as the Cessna approached Runway 18, it was "unstable."

"After the airplane made contact with the runway ... the witness heard the engine power advance and observed the airplane take off again. The plane then veered off the side of the runway. According to the witness, the airplane was still configured with full flaps as it slowly climbed toward a group of buildings. Its wings rocked back and forth, and the flaps started to retract."

The Cessna went down roughly a third of a mile from the runaway in the 37300 block of Industry Way, the wing making contact with a 50-foot building, leaving strike marks, as the plane crashed upside-down, according to investigators.

Riverside County sheriff's deputies were first to reach the location and discovered Newman dead in the cockpit. Paramedics arrived minutes later and rendered treatment to the three boys, all of whom were taken in critical condition to Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego.

Federal Aviation Administration records indicate Newman obtained his student pilot certificate in September 2020 and later obtained a certified private pilot license.

The NTSB's preliminary report did not address Newman's qualifications. The Cessna, tail No. N5243E, belonged to California Flyers Club at French Valley Airport, according to FAA records.

A GoFundMe account was started by relatives of the victims and has since generated $110,254 in donations.

Jared Newman's wife, Megan, posted a message shortly after the crash, saying all of the boys suffered broken bones and lacerations, while one of them also had liver damage. They're all recovering, she said.

The NTSB is expected to publish a final report on the crash in the next two years.

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correctly state that Jared Alan Newman obtained a certified private pilot license.