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Wreckage of small plane found near Joshua Tree

September 14, 2007|Maeve Reston | Times Staff Writer

Air rescue officials spotted the wreckage of a single-engine plane Thursday afternoon that crashed on a mountain near Joshua Tree, Calif., killing at least one person.

Officials believe the small aircraft may be a plane reported missing out of Big Bear City this week.

The family of a pilot scheduled to fly a Grumman AA-5 aircraft from Big Bear City to an airfield in Joshua Tree on Tuesday contacted the Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday morning after the plane did not arrive, said FAA spokesman Ian Gregor.

San Bernardino County sheriff's dispatchers received a call about 1:30 p.m. from officials at Roy Williams Airport in Joshua Tree who said a Palm Springs-based pilot had contacted the airport after seeing the wreckage, said sheriff's spokeswoman Arden Wiltshire.

Investigators have determined that the plane is the same model as the missing plane from Big Bear City, but are trying to confirm that it is the missing aircraft.

Wiltshire said there was at least one fatality on the downed aircraft.

"We don't know how long it's been there," Wiltshire said, noting that the area is difficult to access by foot or vehicle.

"We didn't have any calls saying we saw a plane that went down."

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash.

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maeve.reston@latimes.com

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