Pilot dies when small plane crashes in Point Reyes National Seashore park

Point Reyes ranchers
The wreckage of a plane was discovered Friday morning on a rugged hillside in Point Reyes National Seashore in Marin County.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

A pilot was found dead Friday within the wreckage of a small plane that had vanished and later was discovered crashed on a rugged hillside in Point Reyes National Seashore, in Marin County, officials said.

The pilot of the Cessna 172 was flying Thursday afternoon from Santa Ynez to Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport but never arrived at the intended destination, said Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration. The pilot was the only person onboard the aircraft.

The U.S. Coast Guard later received a ping from the aircraft indicating that its location was two miles offshore and not far from Bolinas, a coastal community about 30 miles northwest of San Francisco, said John Dell’Osso, the park’s chief of interpretation and resource education.

When the Coast Guard searched the area, he said, they found nothing. Authorities later received a second ping, placing the aircraft in the southernmost area of the park near Bolinas.


Thick fog hampered air operations, so authorities relied on ground search teams to locate the aircraft.

The teams scoured the area until 3 a.m. Friday, but did not find the plane.

They returned just before 8 a.m. and spotted the wreckage hours later.


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