Body of pilot recovered from plane wreckage on Mt. Wilson

Plan crash at Mt. Wilson
Wreckage from a plane crash is strewn on the side of Mt. Wilson. The body of the pilot was recovered Monday night, coroner’s officials said.
(Riley Duren, JPL)

The body of a pilot whose plane crashed in Mt. Wilson during the weekend was recovered Monday night, coroner’s officials said.

Heavy fog had hampered recovery efforts for most of the day, but searchers finally were able to reach Thomas Christopher Bruff, 57, of San Diego and pull him from the wreckage, according to the Los Angeles County coroner’s office.

Bruff was the only person on board when his plane went down Sunday in the foothills near Angeles National Forest after it disappeared from radar, Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez of the Los Angeles County Sheriff‘s Department said.

Bruff’s Cessna 182  departed Montgomery Field in San Diego about 7:30 a.m., according to the flight-tracking website FlightAware. The fixed-wing single-engine plane was headed to Santa Monica when it disappeared.


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At some point, the plane came across thick cloud cover and veered northeast from its planned path.

Bruff was about 17 miles east of Van Nuys when his plane lost contact with radar about 8:30 a.m., said Allen Kenitzer, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration.

Search-and-rescue efforts were hindered much of Sunday and part of Monday because of foggy conditions.


The plane was registered to a San Diego-based company, San Diego Skylane LLC, according to FAA registration records.

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Bruff was a doctor who had a private practice in internal medicine.  According to the website Global Health and Education, Bruff attended USC before transferring to Tulane University for medical school.

Bruff, who volunteered in Nepal, enjoyed flying, sailing and skiing, according to the website.

The sheriff’s department, the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board have launched an investigation into the circumstances of the crash.


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