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California Briefing

Lake Elsinore

Glider pilot dies after runway crash

September 14, 2009|Jack Leonard

A 70-year-old pilot from Gardena was killed when his glider crashed as he tried to take off from a private airport in Lake Elsinore, authorities said Sunday.

About 2:50 p.m. Saturday, a plane was towing William R. Klesse's Schweizer glider for takeoff at Skylark Airport, said FAA spokesman Ian Gregor. The glider crashed about 400 yards off the runway, seriously injuring the pilot, who was the only person on board, Gregor said.

Klesse was pronounced dead at 7:10 p.m. Saturday at Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar, according to the Riverside County coroner's website.

He lost control of the unpowered plane "for unknown reasons" before he crashed, according to the website.

Gregor said the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board were investigating the cause of the accident.

-- Jack Leonard

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