Israeli tech entrepreneur and wife killed in Calif. plane crash during snowstorm, leaving

A tech entrepreneur who once played pro soccer in Israel and his wife were killed in a plane crash near the California-Nevada border Saturday evening when their high-performance aircraft attempted to land during a snowstorm, officials said.

Liron and Naomi Petrushka’s single-engine Socata TBM9 crashed near a railway as it approached Truckee Tahoe Airport at around 6:40 p.m., according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The couple, who lived in California, leave behind three children.

Liron and Naomi Petrushka were killed in a plane crash when their high-performance aircraft attempted to land. Facebook / UpWest
Naomi Petrushka was with her husband on the plane when it crashed near the California-Nevada border Saturday evening. Facebook

“I heard this airplane, but very close right over the house and I was like, ‘Gosh that sounds awfully close,’” nearby resident Susan Bower told KCRA.

“Seconds later, I could hear a big thud,” she added. “I knew it went down.”

No homes were damaged, but railroad tracks at the crash site needed repairs, the station reported.

Snowfall caused visibility to be about a half-mile, though there wasn’t much wind, according to the outlet.

“Definitely surprised the plane [was] out in that visibility. We thought for sure it was flying using an instrument,” Susan’s husband Craig Bower told KCRA.

Liron and Naomi Petrushka’s aircraft crashed near a railway as it approached Truckee Tahoe Airport at around 6:40 p.m. Fox40

“There was no visibility at all.”

Liron, who was piloting the aircraft, and radar controllers in Oakland talked about the inclement weather for several minutes as he tried to navigate the conditions, according to radio calls reviewed by the Sacramento Bee.

The couple’s plane took off from Centennial Airport in south Denver during its ill-fated trip to Truckee, which is 30 miles from Reno, Nevada, CBS Colorado reported.

Liron and Naomi Petrushka leave behind three children. Facebook

Liron, 57, and Naomi Petrushka, 58, had been living in California over the last few years, according to Israeli media.

The Silicon Valley company where Liron worked, UpWest, said in a statement it was “devastated” by the couple’s sudden death.

“Our hearts are with the Petrushka family and their sons David, Scott, and Jordan,” said UpWest, which is a seed fund investing in Israeli entrepreneurs.

Liron joined the company in 2012 as a partner before he became an advisor to the fund in 2017. He described himself as a longtime tech entrepreneur and angel investor on his LinkedIn page.

“Liron and Naomi were a significant force in the building and success of UpWest from its inception,” the company said. “They brought their entrepreneurial spirit and generosity to our fund, working with us and our founders on many pivotal milestones. Their home was always open as were their big hearts. We are all heartbroken by this loss.”

Liron’s former soccer club, Hapoel Ramat Gan Givatayim said the team “bows its head” for the death of the pair.

“Liron grew up in the club from the age of 10 and passed through all the teams in the club, including the adults’ team,” the team’s chairman Einav Hazanvald said in a statement. “He played with me in the youth team, where we won the national championship, as well as in the adult team.”

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are expected to investigate the fatal crash.

With Post wires

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