HALF MOON BAY, CA - Federal Aviation Administration investigators on Tuesday were inspecting the wreckage of a small plane that had disappeared after taking off from Half Moon Bay Airport, while local officials were working on identifying the body found inside the plane, authorities said.
San Mateo County search crews found the single-engine Aeropro CZ A-240 about 400 yards from the airport shortly before noon Tuesday, FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said.
The plane disappeared after taking off from Half Moon Bay around 6 a.m. Monday en route to Marana Regional Airport near Tucson, Ariz., Gregor said.
Gregor did not have details of the search but said authorities in Northern California and Arizona started looking for the plane after it didn't arrive and the pilot's wife reported the plane overdue. The U.S. Coast Guard also participated in the search.
A San Mateo County park ranger discovered the incinerated wreckage around 11:35 a.m. Tuesday, The San Jose Mercury News reported. The plane had come to rest in brush on coastal bluff about 300 yards from the ocean, the newspaper said.
Officials late Tuesday were still unable to identify the body because it had been burned beyond recognition, San Mateo County Coroner Robert Foucrault said. A positive ID was not expected until dental records could be obtained or DNA analysis could be conducted, Foucrault said.
Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board were expected to arrive at the scene late Tuesday or Wednesday morning and join the FAA in the investigation, Gregor said.