St. Helena family dies in plane crash

<div class="meta image-caption"><div class="origin-logo origin-image none"><span>none</span></div><span class="caption-text">In this picture provided by Martha Guidoni via The Montana Standard, a fire burns inside the Holy Cross Cemetery after a small, singe-engine plane crashed in an area just south of the Bert Mooney Airport in Butte, Mont. on Sunday, March 22, 2009. Fourteen people, including several children, were killed in the incident, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. &#40;AP Photo&#47;The Montana Standard, Martha Guidoni&#41; </span></div>
March 23, 2009 6:29:10 PM PDT
A well-known ophthalmologist from St. Helena is among those who died in a Montana plane crash yesterday.

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Doctor Erin Jacobsen, his wife Amy and their and three kids, plus nine relatives and family friends, perished in the crash.

They were all travelling in a plane leased by Jacobsen's father-in-law. Investigators are now looking into whether there were too many people on board, as it flew to an exclusive Montana golf and ski resort.

Dr. Jacobsen, his wife Amy and their children, 4-year-old Taylor, 3-year-old Eva and 2-year-old Jude were among the 14 people who died on Sunday when the small plane they were in crashed near a cemetery 500 feet short of the Butte Montana airport.

Joaline Olson has known Erin and his parents for 15 years. She is still in shock.

"Honestly my breath, I found myself that I just couldn't breathe and then I felt nauseated. I just said this can't be, it can't be true," said Olson.

Dr. Jacobsen was an ophthalmologist at the Eye Care Center of Napa Valley. The family lived in St. Helena where on Monday, many gathered and placed flowers.

Olson last saw Erin and Jude together in a coffee shop.

"Erin was just holding Jude, and Jude was saying hi, and he was talking to me," said Olson. "They are all blond and I often teased them that there was only one mold, because the children looked so much alike and just so darling."

The Jacobsens, Amy's sister, her husband and children and another family were on their way to Yellowstone Club, a private ski and golf resort in a plane leased by Amy's father.

The NTSB said the pilot changed plans to go from Bozeman to Butte, but no one knows why.

ABC7's Aviation Consultant Ron Wilson said the single-engine turbo prop is not prepared to carry 14 people and overloading might have been a factor in the crash.

"Even if the pilot was etching himself on the weight because of the lighter weight of the children, you only got enough seats on that airplane," said Wilson.

Jacobsen's eye clinic was closed for the day, as colleagues absorbed the loss.

"It's just incomprehensible," said one colleague.

The NTSB said the plane had no black box and without it, finding the cause of the crash will be difficult.

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