Local : Remains of Hollywood Pilot Found in Wreckage on Anacapa Island

From Times wire services

A 77-year-old Hollywood pilot missing for more than two weeks has been found dead in the wreckage of his small plane in a wildlife preserve on Anacapa Island in Channel Islands National Park, officials said today.

The pilot, John Thompson, had taken off from an airport in Watsonville on Jan. 5 in a single-engine Cessna 172 and was the subject of an intensive search by the Civil Air Patrol after he failed to arrive at Santa Monica Airport as planned.

The wreckage of his plane was spotted last Thursday by a pilot flying above a preserve for California brown pelicans on Anacapa Island, about 15 miles west of Oxnard, said Cindy Nielsen, a spokeswoman for Channel Islands National Park. A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter verified the discovery Friday, but the area is a closed nesting site for the endangered species and the Coast Guard waited for park officials to enter the protected area over the weekend and to identify the dead pilot, Nielsen said.

An investigation was under way to determine the cause of the crash.