2 Die in Plane Crash That Sparked Brush Fire in Lakeside

The crash sparked a 20-acre brush fire Saturday

A pilot and his passenger died when a small plane crashed near the El Capitan Reservoir Saturday afternoon, according to a spokesperson for the pilot's employer.

The victims were identified Monday as pilot Peter Gillcrist and passenger Garrett Engler, according to Sky Combat Ace spokesperson Megan Fazio. 

The men died after their plane crashed around 4:15 p.m. Saturday, sparking a 20-acre brush fire.

The National Transportation Safety Board identified the wreckage as an EA 300/L single-engine acrobatic plane.

Fazio said the plane was registered to KD Leasing and operated by California Extreme Adventures. 

Sky Combat Ace operates out of Henderson, Nevada, but has a location out of Gillespie Field, which is where the plane was headed Saturday. 

"To our knowledge, there were no distress calls made prior to the accident," Fazio said. 

The wreckage is in a remote area near the El Capitan Reservoir and was not accessible to ground crews Saturday.

Gillcrist, known as "Bandito" in the air, taught competitive aerobatics, emergency maneuver training, and spin training, according to the company. His mother was an aviation physiologist, his father was a Navy pilot and his wife is a pilot for Southwest Airlines.

The NTSB and Federal Aviation Administration have now taken over the investigation with the NTSB in the lead.

Sky Combat Ace locations are closed until further notice, Fazio said. 

"We are devastated and extend our heartfelt sympathy to the families and to our SCA team members who have lost a beloved colleague and pilot," she said in a written statement.

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