Plane crash claims four SLO county residents



A small plane crash south of Ensenada, Mexico, took the lives of four San Luis Obispo County residents. The flight was part of a humanitarian mission run by the Flying Samaritans, an organization that sends medical teams to clinics in Mexico.

The four were pilot Roger Lyon of Cayucos, Dr. James Thornton and Dr. Graciela Sarmiento of Arroyo Grande, and Cal Poly student and medic Andrew Thiel.

In an Oct. 19 statement, Rep. Lois Capps said she was “heartbroken to hear of this tragedy.

“Dr. Sarmiento was a pillar of her community and lived to serve her patients at the Community Health Centers of the Central Coast,” Capps elaborated. “Dr. Thornton was a talented surgeon who had been involved with the Flying Samaritans since 1988. Roger Lyon was a well-known attorney who had flown Flying Samaritan missions repeatedly, and Cal Poly student Andrew Thiel was a paramedic. They were all on this mission of mercy working to improve the lives of others, a commitment that sets an example for us all. My heart goes out to all of their families and friends touched by this sad event.”

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