Pilot Killed, Local Students Injured in Plane Crash

A small plane carrying volunteers from the LIGA medical aid organization crashed in El Fuerte, Mexico Saturday

A pilot was killed and three local San Diego students were injured in a fatal plane crash in El Fuerte, Mexico, on Saturday.

The people aboard the small plane were volunteers from LIGA International, a medical relief organization that provides aid and health care to families and children in need in the heart of Mexico, according to LIGA spokesperson Pat Spier.

Spier told NBC 7 San Diego that the pilot who died in the crash was an active volunteer within the organization and a very experienced pilot. He was from the Phoenix area, Spier said.

Spier said the pilot was flying three other volunteers to a LIGA clinic in El Carrizo on Saturday morning when the crash occurred shortly after take-off.

She also confirmed that two of the three injured volunteers who were aboard the plane are high school students from the San Diego area.

One of the female students from San Diego is in serious but stable condition at the hospital while the other two students are in stable condition, according to Spier.

Spier said LIGA -- also known as the "Flying Doctors of Mercy" -- has an excellent safety record, with no accidents like this since 1995.

“It is a horrible tragedy to lose one of our volunteers,” said Spier.

“This is a very difficult time for us as all of us are volunteers and safety is paramount to the operation. In addition to the shock and grief, [there’s] huge concern about the pilot’s family and the injured.”

Check back for updates on this story.

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