Wreckage found on the side of a mountain at the edge of the Mojave Desert is believed to be the remains of an aircraft that went missing on radar Tuesday night while en route to Nevada, search team officials said.
The single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza was headed to Henderson, Nev., from California City when it is believed to have crashed in a remote section of the Clark Mountain Range in San Bernardino County. The aircraft vanished from air traffic controllers’ radar at about 8 p.m. near where the wreckage was discovered Wednesday morning, the FAA said.
“It’s a fresh crash site. They were able to see pieces of the plane, the color’s right,” said Maj. Marc Sobel of the Civil Air Patrol’s California wing and incident commander for the search. “It’s a horrible mess honestly. It just looks like big pieces of white. It doesn’t look like a plane anymore … there’s no expectation of survivors.”
A husband and wife were believed to be on board the plane, Sobel said. The pilot had requested that air traffic controllers keep an eye on the plane on radar as it approached Henderson, Sobel said.
The plane disappeared from radar amid rainy, freezing and windy conditions on the mountain, according to the National Weather Service, said meteorologist Reid Walcott. The wreckage was found about 5,000 feet up the mountain.
“That storm moved through and they caught it,” Sobel said.
Officials with the National Transportation and Safety Board, the county coroner's office and search and rescue workers flew over the site Wednesday to figure out how they were going to get to it, said Cindy Bachmann, spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.
It’s about 40 miles southwest of Henderson and unreachable by road.
“It’s extremely rugged terrain,” Bachmann said. “Even if they insert them, they’re still looking at hours of hiking.”
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