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Wreckage of Missing Small Plane Found In Angeles National Forest, One Dead

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(Courtesy Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department)
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After disappearing en route from San Diego to Santa Monica, a small plane was found to have crashed in the Angeles National Forest Sunday. The plane's sole occupant— a male pilot— was pronounced dead at the scene. The white Cessna 182 aircraft with blue stripes departed from San Diego around 7:30 a.m. Sunday morning en route to Santa Monica. According to the L.A. Times, the plane veered northeast from its path at some point while flying over Los Angeles County, and ground contact was lost at roughly 8:30 a.m.

Rescuers searched the Angeles National Forest near Mount Wilson for more than seven hours. The massive search effort, which was led by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, included the participation of six of the eight Sheriff’s Department (LASD) Search and Rescue Teams and more than fifty volunteers. The search focused on the Mt. Wilson area because it was the last place that the plane's radar had pinged, according to the L.A. Times.

Authorities told ABC that the mountain was completely covered in fog at the time of the crash, likely giving the pilot only 20 to 30 feet of visibility, and that the plane was headed towards the mountainside when contact was lost.

Due to the steep, rugged terrain and extremely low visibility weather conditions, the Sheriff's Department wasn't able to conduct an aerial search until the afternoon, when some of the fog and clouds had cleared away. The aerial search commenced at approximately 4 and the downed aircraft was located at approximately 5:20 p.m., on a rugged cliff on the south side of Brown Mountain, just north of Altadena.

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The crash is currently being investigated by the Sheriff's Department, the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board.