Longtime veterinarian killed in plane crash in California
Groveway Veterinary Hospital’s Russell Hackler, DVM, 68, was killed in a plane crash Nov. 23 three-quarters of a mile south of the Calaveras County Airport in California. According to reports, Hackler, who lived in Danville, Calif., was flying solo in his homebuilt single-engine Coot A-Amphibian aircraft when it crashed into a hillside. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are conducting an investigation to find out what caused Hackler to crash. The aircraft is built through a kit and can land on and take off from water. Hackler was en route to the airport when he crashed, according to Ian Gregor, public affairs manager with the FAA Pacific Division.
Condolences have been posted on local media sites for the longtime veterinarian. “We will miss you Doc,” writes Dan Willits. “We were blessed to spend Mother’s Day this year with Russ on his plane for a flight around the Bay.” Willits says Hackler donated flights as an auction item for Chabot Elementary for many years. “He truly loved to fly and donated many trips and resources to transport ill children to receive medical attention. He was also the Doc of my childhood dog from beginning to end, always with a caring hand and mild manner. We will miss a great man.”
His veterinary peers are also mourning his passing. “We were more than associates; we were friends too. I will miss him very much, “ wrote Hermann Bonasch, DVM, of Arroyo Veterinary Clinic on the comments section of a local paper.
Gregor says a preliminary report by an NTSB investigator will be posted within a week or two, but it may take months to develop and report a probable cause for the accident.