San Diego

FAA Identifies Plane in Fiery East County Crash

Three people found dead in the wreckage of a small plane crash in East County were part of a flight that never arrived at Gillespie Field last week, officials confirmed Tuesday. 

A twin-engine Beechcraft Duchess did not land at the El Cajon airport as scheduled Thursday night, according to Ian Gregor, spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Pacific Division.

That same night, a plane crash on Volcan Mountain sparked a 12-acre brush fire in the Ranchita area. Deputies described the area as Arkansas Canyon. It's located east of Warner Springs and west of Borrego Springs. 

On Tuesday, officials confirmed the crashed plane was the missing Beechcraft Duchess. 

Three bodies were removed Monday from the wreckage, four days since the crash was first reported.

Someone saw the plane crashing and called 911 at around 8:30 p.m. Thursday. Due to the remote location of the crash, it wasn't found until Friday.

Search teams could not reach the wreckage until Sunday when they confirmed three people were dead at the crash site.

Images of Ranchita Fire in East County

Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board airlifted the bodies out of the canyon.

Some parts of the plane were also recovered and have been taken to a salvage yard in the Phoenix area where a thorough examination will be conducted by the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the FAA said.

Keith Holloway with the NTSB said his agency will look into radar data, aircraft communications, weather and medical records. 

As NBC 7’s Rory Devine reports, search and rescue crews know where a plane crashed Thursday night but have been unable to reach the wreckage to look for victims. 
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