Magana Cathcart & McCarthy

Pilot Abandons Plane after Borrego Springs Crash

Plane on fire while in air

In a strange incident that remains under investigation by FAA investigators and local law enforcement, a plane that crashed in the Anza-Borrego Desert was left abandoned by the pilot and passenger.

Crash in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

The incident occurred on Saturday, March 18, 2017. The aircraft involved was a single engine Cubcrafters CC11-160, piloted by a Pacific Palisades resident and transporting one passenger, the pilot’s brother-in-law. The small craft landed in Borrego Springs, northeast of San Diego, at around 8:30 that morning.

The first indication of a problem with the aircraft came when the Cubcrafters’ emergency locator beacon began emitting a signal, which was picked up by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center at the Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida. The beacon was transmitting from somewhere in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Workers at the base notified the California Wing of the Civil Air Patrol of the emergency signal they’d received, and a search aircraft was sent out from the San Diego County town of Fallbrook to hunt for the downed plane.

Wreckage located, but not pilot or passenger

The search plane spotted the wreck about nine miles from the Borrego Valley Airport. A San Diego County Sheriff’s Department helicopter was dispatched to the crash site, located in the mountains northeast of the Borrego airport. When law enforcement landed at the site and began to inspect the wreckage, they found it entirely abandoned.

According to an official investigation by the FAA, the pilot landed in Borrego Springs for a visit, took off again, then crashed shortly after taking off, with an intended destination of Palm Springs. Sheriff’s deputies determined the name of the plane’s registered owner and found the man at his home in Pacific Palisades. The man said that he and his passenger had not been injured in the wreck, and that while he intended to report the crash to his insurer, he had not yet done so. San Diego Sheriffs are unclear as to the means by which the pilot and his passenger made it out of the crash site and back to Los Angeles County.

After an aviation accident, it is important to report and document the incident to secure your rights to compensation in the event the facts reveal another party was responsible for the crash. It is also a good idea to see a doctor after any collision or impact. Even if you are feeling okay, you may have injuries that should be identified and treated sooner before the condition worsens.

If you’ve been injured or suffered property damage in a Southern California airplane crash, find out if you might have a claim for damages by contacting the experienced and knowledgeable Los Angeles aviation accident attorneys at Magaña, Cathcart & McCarthy for a consultation on your case, at 310-553-6630.

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