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California

Wreckage of missing plane found in Tehachapi Mountains; one confirmed dead, two others missing

Kern County search and rescue teams found the remains of one person near the wreckage of a missing plane in the Tehachapi Mountains on Saturday, but the search continues for two other passengers, authorities said.

The twin-engine Beechcraft was on a flight from San Luis Obispo to Los Angeles when the Kern County Sheriff’s Office received calls about 10:30 p.m. Thursday that the plane was overdue. Assisted by aircraft, search crews scoured the snow-capped mountains and finally spotted the wreckage about 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

A body was discovered at the crash site about an hour later, said Sheriff’s Sgt. Steve Williams. The identity of the victim has not been released. Authorities believe the plane was carrying three people.

Much of the wreckage is still buried under nearly five feet of snow, and finding “the others will be tough,” Williams said, especially since the crash occurred on the side of the mountain, with no access roads.

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Sheriff’s officials were initially alerted about the missing plane from the son of the pilot, who called the Federal Aviation Administration to report the aircraft’s disappearance. Later, a cellphone image from one of the passengers helped provide authorities with a clue to the plane’s location.

Williams said the sheriff’s office is working with the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board. He said both agencies planned to send investigators to the scene Sunday.

But reaching the crash site won’t be easy. Search teams are using heavy machinery to carve a trail.

“It’s cold, wet and windy,” Williams said, noting that the site “is far from any residences so we don’t believe there were any witnesses.”

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anh.do@latimes.com

Twitter: @newsterrier


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