A plane gone missing near Altadena early Sunday morning prompted a massive search that included the activation of six of the eight Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Dept. (LASD) search and rescue teams and LASD Air Rescue 5.
On Sunday at approximately 9 a.m., LASD Special Enforcement Bureau (SEB) Emergency Services Detail (ESD) first received information of a possible downed aircraft near Mt. Wilson in the Angeles National Forest. At approximately 9:25 a.m., at the request of ESD, the Altadena and Montrose Search and Rescue teams were activated and, along with the Los Angeles County Fire Dept., responded. But due to the very steep and rugged terrain and poor, zero visibility weather conditions that hindered a conclusive aerial search, four additional LASD Search and Rescue teams – the Antelope Valley, Santa Clarita, Sierra Madre and San Dimas teams – were requested to partake in a massive primary ground search for the missing plane.
All six search and rescue teams utilized “direction finding equipment” during the ground search where heavy brush continuously hindered the visibility of the approximate 50 volunteers and reserve deputies hiking through the treacherous terrain.
It was not until later in the day, at approximately 4 p.m., after some of the fog and clouds had cleared, that Air Rescue 5 was able to conduct an aerial search, locating the downed aircraft at approximately 5:20 p.m. on the south side of Brown Mountain, on a rugged cliff side approximately four miles north of Altadena.
Air Rescue 5 lowered two ESD paramedics from the helicopter. They used rope systems to secure themselves on the side of the mountain to search the area and determined a male adult and sole occupant was deceased in the wreckage.
LASD’s Aero Bureau accident investigators, in conjunction with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board, are investigating the incident.
Pending identification by the Los Angeles County Dept. of Medical Examiner – Coroner and notification of next of kin, the identity of the deceased cannot be released at this time.
Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Dept. Aero Bureau at (562) 421-2701. Those who prefer to provide information anonymously can call “Crime Stoppers” by dialing (800) 222-TIPS (8477) or texting the letters TIPLA plus the tip to CRIMES (274637), or by using the website http://lacrimestoppers.org.