Five bodies were recovered from the wreckage of a small plane Sunday, a day after the aircraft disappeared from radar and the crash was found in an orchard in central California, local and federal authorities said.
The Federal Aviation Administration was investigating to find possible causes for the crash that killed five people, Kern County sheriff's Sgt. Mark King said. The victims have not yet been identified.
Air traffic controllers lost contact with the single-engine Piper PA32 around 4 p.m. Saturday as it was flying from Reid-Hillview Airport in San Jose to Henderson Executive Airport in Las Vegas, FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said.
The plane sent a mayday call. Rescuers located the wreckage southwest of Bakersfield about three hours after receiving an alert from the FAA about a missing plane that was last detected an estimated 10 miles south of the city, the Kern County sheriff's office said.
Gregor said a National Transportation Safety Board investigator also was on site Sunday.
A meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Hanford said it was rainy and cloudy in the area south of Bakersfield around the time the plane went off radar.