BAKERSFIELD – Five people have been found dead in the widely spread wreckage of a small plane that crashed into an almond orchard in California near Bakersfield.
The Piper PA32 was en route from San Jose, California, to Henderson, Nevada, on Saturday afternoon when it went down about 10 miles south of Bakersfield, a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) spokesman said.
The victims were not immediately identified late Sunday, but they were believed to be from the Bay area, US media said.
FAA and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators were at the crash scene, said Kern County Sheriff’s Sgt. Mark King. He said the debris field stretched about a quarter of a mile, according to USA Today.
It was not immediately clear whether weather was a contributing factor, but light rain and mist were observed nearby at the time of the crash.
Air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane around 4 p.m. Saturday. The aircraft sent a mayday call and searchers spotted the wreckage southwest of Bakersfield about three hours after receiving an FAA alert about a missing plane.
The crash was only about 30 miles from the site of a medical helicopter crash that killed four people in heavy rain and fog 10 days earlier.
Sportact Editors and Wire Services