PETALUMA (CBS SF) — A pilot who died in a plane crash on Sonoma Mountain near Petaluma on Friday has been identified 75-year-old Carl Morrison, of Fallbrook in San Diego County.
Morrison was an environmental consultant with the Sonoma County Water Agency for nearly two decades, the agency’s spokesman Brad Sherwood said Monday morning.
“He was in the Bay Area for the North Bay Watersheds’ bi-annual conference. I last saw him around 4 p.m. Friday leaving the Sheraton Hotel in Petaluma. We are all still in shock,” Sherwood said.
Morrison flew from the San Diego area to Sonoma County in a Mooney M20 plane. The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office received a call around 6:40 p.m. Friday from the U.S. Air Force about an emergency transponder activation from a small passenger plane in eastern Petaluma, sheriff’s Sgt. Spencer Crum said.
Deputies did not immediately find the plane at the coordinates they were given on Sonoma Mountain, but Morrison’s wife called the Petaluma Police Department to report he was overdue, Crum said.
Around 10 p.m. Friday, deputies spotted a small fire in a remote ravine near the 3600 block of Manor Lane. They found the downed plane and confirmed the pilot was deceased, Crum said.
Morrison’s family confirmed his death on Facebook and said a memorial service would be held 11 a.m. on Saturday in Fallbrook.
Morrison, who served in the Marines, was vice commander of the Pacific Region of the Civil Air Patrol.
Sherwood said Morrison was hired as a consultant for his coalition building that brought funding into the Bay Area and was a liaison to state and federal agencies.
“He came up here monthly. I was with him all day Friday,” Sherwood said. “He had a tremendous amount of flying experience. He could walk into a room and people would gravitate to him. He was a solution-oriented gentleman,” Sherwood said.
The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Association are investigating the plane crash.
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