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Federal authorities to investigate fatal plane crash in Beverly Crest area

Transportation officials continue investigation into fatal plane crash in Beverly Crest
Transportation officials continue investigation into fatal plane crash in Beverly Crest 02:43

Federal authorities are expected to begin their investigation Sunday into the circumstances surrounding a fatal plane crash in the Beverly Crest area.

Crews located the plane on a steep hillside above a home in the 3000 block of Beverly Glen Circle just before 11:30 p.m. Saturday. The pilot, the sole occupant of the plane, was pronounced dead at the scene.  

No other deaths were reported. The single-engine Cessna C172 was recovered hours after it was reported missing. Witnesses in the area described the crash as sounding similar to a "bomb." 

"We did hear it. It was behind us, not in front of us," said one resident. "Like a big bomb. It was very, very loud and we could feel some vibrations as well." 

The Los Angeles Fire Department was first notified of the possibly downed single-engine aircraft just before 8:10 p.m. after air traffic control lost contact with the pilot near Stone Canyon Road and Mulholland Drive. Crews searched a "large swath of mountainous territory" near Beverly Crest for hours before the plane was located at around 11:30 p.m. It crashed at around 8:45 p.m. Saturday.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are investigating the crash and the events leading up to it. 

According to the NTSB, the private pilot took off from Camarillo Saturday and flew to Palm Springs. The plane was returning to Camarillo when it tried to contact Van Nuys Airport. 

"Pilot then established contact with Van Nuys Airport who then cleared him for approach," said NTSB accident investigator Elliott Simpson. 

Investigators said the pilot did not send out a distress call. According to the company that owned the aircraft, Camarillo Flight Instruction, the man rented the plane for the day.

The NTSB plans to remove the plane from the hillside and take it to a facility in Phoenix for examination.

Without revealing his identity, an organization that helps Jewish families in times of mourning said the victim was a local father of two with a wife.

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