WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo took off from the Mojave Air and Space Port at 9:20 am PDT, with release of the SpaceShipTwo craft at 10:10 am. At 10:12 am, ground controllers became aware of an in-flight anomaly and implemented their prearranged response plan.
First responders were dispatched to a location 25 miles north of the airport, where rescue helicopters responded to a pilot who has successfully parachuted from the plane but had experienced significant injuries. That pilot, who has not been named, was transported by medical helicopter to the Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster, California. Kevin Mickey, chief executive of Scaled Composites the company operating SpaceShipTwo today, said in a press conference that the pilot was doing "as well as can be expected."
The second pilot was deceased, according to Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood.
Parts of the spacecraft were scattered over a large area of the desert. Executives with Scaled Composites, which operates the spacecraft, and with Virgin Galactic, refused to speculate as to possible causes of the accident.