A pilot was killed and three teenagers were injured when a small plane crashed in Mexico during a volunteer medical mission, according to the organization that sponsored the trip.
A friend, 18-year-old Trevor Flahive, identified two passengers as Hayley Brown, 18, and Julia Tower, 17. He said both attended La Costa Canyon High School in Carlsbad and had traveled with Liga International: Flying Doctors of Mercy three times in the past year and were passionate about providing medical aid.
The four-passenger Cessna left El Fuerte, Mexico, before 9 a.m. Saturday on its way to El Carrizo when it crashed into power lines shortly after takeoff, according to a report from FoxNews Latino.
Pat Spier, a registered nurse and a board member of Liga International, said the middle-aged man from Phoenix who was piloting the plane was very experienced and has volunteered with the organization for several years. She said a 15-year-old boy from the Southern California area was also on the flight and suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
Flahive said Brown is in serious condition with a coma, but that her family has been told by doctors that she is expected to fully recover.
Tower suffered moderate injuries and was taken out of an intensive care unit Sunday, Flahive said.
Liga International has been providing free medical care to small towns in Mexico since 1934. About 20 to 25 planes fly 60 to 90 volunteers to three towns every weekend from October to June. The organization makes 4,000 to 5,000 round-trip flights each year, Spier said.
All of the pilots are volunteers who use their own aircraft to bring doctors, nurses, surgeons, dentists, translators and other medical volunteers to treat up to 300 patients each
The Liga Youth Program has high school- and college-age students interested in the field of health care volunteer by teaching children about proper hygiene or creating care packages
for some of their patients. Spier said often times younger participants will have family or friends attend the trip as well, but will sometimes be split up to accommodate the small aircrafts used.