The pilot, whose name has yet to be released, crashed his single engine fixed wing Mooney aircraft as he tried to land at Palo Alto Airport.
The aircraft is registered to an owner who lives in Placerville. He is presumed to be the pilot, although that has not been officially confirmed.
A mother and daughter are said to have survived. According to Palo Alto Online, they have been identified as mother Nancy Delamaria of Redding and her 16-year-old daughter Chloe King
Santa Monica-based Angel Flight West told ABC7 News by phone that the pilot was transporting one of the two passengers to be treated at Stanford's Lucille Packard Children's Hospital.
Air Traffic control audio indicates the pilot was having trouble landing.
First photo from the scene. Media may use, credit Palo Alto Fire Department. pic.twitter.com/BCrm19aWYP— PaloAltoFire (@PaloAltoFire) September 4, 2018
The call to the Palo Alto Fire Department came in just after 11 a.m. that a Mooney single engine plane with three people had crashed in the Duck Ponds while trying to land at Palo Alto Airport.
Palo Alto Deputy Fire Chief Geo Blackshire says, "The two adult women who were on the wing of the aircraft were rescued by our personnel. And the deceased male was the pilot."
Firefighters hooked a 24 foot extension ladder from the shore to the aircraft to reach the two passengers.
"One patient was able to walk to the ambulance to be transported. The other patient was packaged on a backboard and transported on a gurney," added Chief Blackshire.
The radio conversation between the air traffic controller and the pilot - One Juliet Mike - indicates he was unfamiliar with the area and was having trouble finding the airport.
"Uh this is Juliet Mike. I'm having trouble locating the field. Can you tell me when I need to turn my final?"
"1 Juliet Mike you're flying through final now," the air traffic controller said.
The Tower warns another plane in the area.
The air traffic controller turns back to 1-Juliet-Mike.
"You have the field in sight 12 o'clock a mile and a half?" the air traffic controller said.
"Roger. I do. I'm cleared to land, too 1 Juliet Mike," the pilot responded.
Then, this: "Palo Alto tower, 1 Juliet Mike. I'm going to have to abort this and go around."
"1 Juliet Mike, roger. Make a left closed traffic. Did you need any assistance?" the tower asked.
"Negative. I just ah came in too fast. 1 Juliet Mike," the pilot responded.
Then the radio goes silent.
The tower then made one last announcement to other planes.
"Attention all aircraft. Due to a mishap we'll be shutting down pattern work and limiting operations in the vicinity."
Pilot Mike Savage, who also volunteers for Angel Flight West, says the audio is very telling.
"Looks like he landed in the attitude he did, looks like he didn't have enough speed and he may have stalled."
The other passenger is her mother. Both were taken to Stanford Medical Center.
An NTSB investigator was at the scene of the wreckage. He says the plane bounced on the runway at its first attempt to land. It crashed during its second attempt as it made a "go around."