The Kern County Sheriff's Office confirmed Friday afternoon that at one person died and two are unaccounted for after a plane crash near Cummings Mountain sometime Thursday during a snowstorm.
A Beechcraft twin engine airplane traveling from San Luis Obispo and heading for Whiteman Airport in Pacoima in Los Angeles was reported missing by the son of the pilot at around 10:30 p.m. Thursday after the aircraft failed to reach its destination, said Sgt. Steven Williams of the Kern County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue Unit.
Cummings Mountain is part of the Tehachapi Mountains. The plane's wreckage was found on Cummings Mountain, which rises above the Stallion Springs Police Department.
The Federal Aviation Administration launched an investigation, Williams said, including the search of at least one of the cell phones belonging to one of the passengers in addition to an analysis of radar that was conducted and led searchers to the discovery of the crash site around 10:30 a.m. Friday.
A body was discovered one hour later next to the crash site. However, rescue attempts of the other two occupants of the plane were unsuccessful due to the steep terrain and snow drifts in excess of three feet.
Assisting in the search was the Kern County Fire Department and Civil Air Patrol.
"Because of the terrain and several feet of snow, we haven't been able to go through the wreckage and determine exactly how many remains we have," Williams said.
The search for the missing passengers will resume Friday evening when Snow Cats will be used to blaze a trail to the crash site, Williams said.
The identity of the victim has not been confirmed, and the cause of the crash is still under investigation. Williams could not confirm the city of residence of the victim or the other people on the plane.