Debris found in orchard after plane went off radar

AP News
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Posted: Dec 20, 2015 1:47 AM

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (AP) — Aircraft debris was found scattered in a central California orchard hours after a small plane sent a mayday call and disappeared from radar, authorities said.

A search and rescue crew located the debris in an orchard southwest of Bakersfield around 7:30 p.m. Saturday, about three hours after receiving an alert from the FAA about a missing plane that was last detected an estimated 10 miles south of the city, Kern County Sheriff's Cmdr. Shaun Beasley said.

Beasley said he couldn't confirm if the debris was that of the missing plane, noting that the plane's tail number has not been found.

Searchers have not found any survivor, he said.

Air traffic controllers lost contact with a single-engine Piper PA32 around 4 p.m. as it was flying from Reid-Hillview Airport in San Jose to Henderson Executive Airport in Las Vegas, FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said.

A meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Hanford said it was rainy and cloudy in the area south of Bakersfield around the time the plane went off radar.

Crews will search through the night, Beasley said.