5 dead in small plane crash in California

Posted at 10:00 AM, Dec 21, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-21 10:03:37-05

Five people are dead following a small plane crash in Bakersfield, California.

“The aircraft is in a debris field … in an almond orchard, so it’s going to take a lot of footwork to conduct the investigation,” said Sgt. Mark King with the Kern County Sheriff’s Office. “We do not expect to have positive identification of the passengers until Monday,” he said.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board arrived at the scene of the crash Sunday morning to begin an investigation into the cause of the accident.

The sheriff’s office says it received a mayday call from a single engine plane at about 4:30 p.m. Saturday. The sheriff’s office and several other agencies, including the California Highway Patrol, responded and conducted a ground search. It took about three hours to locate the debris from the plane, according to a news release.

A single-engine Piper PA-32 disappeared off radar about 10 miles south of Bakersfield around 4 p.m. Saturday. The plane was en route from Reid-Hillview Airport in San Jose, California, to Henderson Executive Airport, outside Las Vegas in Clark County, Nevada, according to a statement from the FAA.

The NTSB is in charge of the investigation. It typically takes the agency months if not longer to determine a probable cause for an accident.