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Pilot Dies as Small Plane Crashes in Angeles Forest

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The pilot of a single-engine airplane was killed when the aircraft crashed and burned along a mountain ridge in a remote section of the Angeles National Forest, authorities said Sunday.

The pilot of the Cessna 206--the plane’s only occupant--had not been identified late Sunday. The aircraft matched the description of a plane that departed Mammoth Lakes in Mono County and was last in contact with air-traffic controllers at Burbank Airport at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Mark Burnett said. The plane went down about 15 miles west of the airport, he said.

U.S. Forest Service fire crews discovered the smoldering wreckage at 10:48 a.m. Sunday while on a training exercise along the Santa Clara Truck Trail in the Tujunga section of the forest, said Burnett, in Santa Clarita.

The badly charred fuselage--containing the pilot’s remains--singed a 40-square-foot area of dense forest about 15 feet below the roadway after it slammed into the mountainside, said Patrolman Glenn Skaggs of the U.S. Forest Service. The plane’s identification numbers were burned off.

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Skaggs said the position of the plane suggested that the pilot may have tried to land the aircraft on the narrow, rutted road.

Although the official cause of the crash had yet to be determined by investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration, authorities at the scene speculated that the pilot may have become disoriented in heavy fog shrouding the mountain range, about 3,700 feet above sea level.

The crash remained under investigation late Sunday by the FAA, the National Transportation Safety Board, the Sheriff’s Department Aero Bureau and the Los Angeles County coroner’s office, Burnett said.


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