Eye surgery team’s plane crashes in Washington

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Ten passengers and crew escaped from a small jet aircraft that crashed and caught fire while landing Tuesday morning at an airport in Pasco, Washington.

Ben Shearer, a Pasco Fire Department spokesperson, said the twin-engine Cessna Citation’s landing gear failed, causing it to skid down the runway and sparking a fire at around 7 a.m., The Tri-City Herald reported. Everyone on board exited the plane and firefighters extinguished the flames, officials said.

The jet was carrying surgical technicians and a registered nurse for the Pacific Cataract and Laser Institute, officials said, and had departed from Chehalis.

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The aircraft’s burned-out frame could be seen surrounded by emergency vehicles on the Tri-Cities Airport’s main runway Tuesday morning. The Pasco airport terminal remained open and the airfield was back open by 10 a.m. with two flights experiencing delays because of the crash.

Crash investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.

An eye surgery team’s plane crashed on a runway in Pasco, Washington, on Sept. 20, 2022, because its landing gear failed. 

An eye surgery team’s plane crashed on a runway in Pasco, Washington, on Sept. 20, 2022, because its landing gear failed. 

The jet is one of three operated by the Pacific Cataract Laser Institute, which has its headquarters in Chehalis, according to Kris Gamboa, the site manager for the Kennewick location.

“No bruises. No bumps. Just a lot of nerves,” Gamboa said. “We’re thankful that everybody was safe.”

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The passengers were going to work at the Kennewick location before picking up a doctor and flying to Lewiston, Idaho. The company has 17 sites across the Northwest. They perform surgeries for cataracts, glaucoma, corneal transplants and laser vision corrections.