MARIN COUNTY (CBS SF) — A pilot has been found dead in the wreckage of a downed plane in Marin County Tuesday morning as firefighters continue to battle a brush fire, according to the Marin County Sheriff’s Office.
The California Office of Emergency Services notified police that a pilot of a single engine Beechcraft Bonanza airplane reported having engine problems around 9:30 p.m. in an area 7 miles west of Gnoss Airport in Novato, police spokesperson Lieutenant Douglas Pittman told KCBS.
“We also got word that there was a distress signal that was being broadcast in that area. Based on those two bits of information, we began to basically do a grid search of this area of West Marin County,” he said.
Pittman said that during the grid search, one of the Sheriff’s Deputies spotted a fire on the hillside just north of Hicks Valley near the Marin-Sonoma county line that led crews to the scene of the crash.
Firefighters from the Marin County Fire Department’s Hick Valley station arrived to find about 40 acres of grass and brush burning in multiple canyons an hillsides, according to Pittman.
By 8 a.m., the fire was 75 percent contained with 25 firefighters battling the blaze.
The aircraft was tracked via radar and was last detected via a radar emergency distress beacon that was emitted as the plane dropped below 600 feet in elevation, Pittman said.
Heavy fog had hampered search efforts in the remote and hilly terrain.
The airplane had taken off from Oregon and had headed to the San Carlos Airport.