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.

(Marin Co. Sheriff’s Office)

(Marin Co. Sheriff’s Office)

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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.

(Google Maps)

(Google Maps)

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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.

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The airplane had taken off from Oregon and had headed to the San Carlos Airport.