Five people were killed Saturday when a private plane took off from a small San Jose airport and crashed south of Bakersfield, according to the Kern County Sheriff’s Department.
Beasley said he couldn’t confirm if the debris was that of the missing plane, noting that the plane’s tail number has not been found. There were no survivors.
A seven-seat Piper aircraft headed from San Jose, Calif., to Henderson crashed in an almond orchard southwest of Bakersfield about 4:30 p.m. Saturday shortly after takeoff.
When the plane went off radar, the Central California area was cloudy and rainy, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Hanford said.
A National Transportation Safety Board investigator also was on site Sunday, Gregor said.
The plane became the subject of a search after disappearing from radar, Kern County sheriff’s Sgt. Mark King said, and federal authorities are investigating the cause. As the Sheriff’s Office reports, identification of the victims of the crash is not expected before Monday.
The FAA issued an alert and started the search-and-rescue process, said Gregor. He said the debris field was about a quarter of a mile in length from north to south.
Air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane around 4 p.m. Saturday. If precedence of similar cases is to be taken into account, it will take agencies months and if not longer to identify the possible causes for the plane crash.