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Deadly Plane Crash in San Rafael

Deadly Plane Crash at San Rafael Airport


On July 8, at approximately 2203 hours, a call came into a Marin County Communications Center (San Rafael PD) regarding a bright flash of light in the sky and the power being out near San Rafael Airport. Additional callers reported a plane had struck power lines near the airport.  Upon initial investigation, one subject has passed away, while another is listed in critical condition.   

Responding law enforcement units arrived on scene and confirmed a plane had crashed and was down in a mucky wetlands area, making access to the plane difficult. Power lines had been struck by the panes tailfin prior to the plane touching down on the ground. The power lines were wrapped around the plane and across the crash site.

Once PG&E was able to deactivate the power lines, San Rafael Fire Department was able to extricate the pilot, later identified as Kirk Harford of San Rafael, who was transported to John Muir Medical Center, and is currently in critical condition. The passenger of the plane, later identified as Marc Pankin, 59 year old male from Novato, was pronounced deceased on scene.

Flight manifests confirmed only two passengers were onboard the flight, which left from Minden, NV on its flight to San Rafael, CA.

 The Marin County Sheriff’s Office and our Coroner’s Division will work with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to ensure a thorough investigation is completed into the cause of the crash. An autopsy will be scheduled to determine the cause and manner of death for the decedent.     

We are requesting anyone with information relevant to the investigation contact our Investigations Division through our non-emergency dispatch line at (415)479-2311