By Miriam Raftery
October 10, 2013 (Julian) – Working in frigid weather amid blowing snow, sleet and high winds, a team of rescue units located a missing plane shortly after midnight in the Volcan Mountain Wilderness Preserve.
The male pilot and a female passenger were found dead inside the plane, along with their dog. The plane crashed onto a rugged, steep hillside approximately half a mile from a road near the top of Volcan Mountain. ECM news partner reports that Andrew Thulin of San Diego, Robbie Rose and their poodle were on board.
The Piper Mooney airplane left Palm Springs and was en route to Gillespie Field in El Cajon when it was lost on radar and reported missing at 6:18 p.m.
Sheriff's ASTREA helicopters attempted to search the area, but had to abandon their efforts due to inclement weather, which made flying unsafe.
Search and Rescue was deployed along with Julian deputies, US Border Patrol "Borstar" team members, San Diego Mountain Rescue, AERO Reserve and Civil Air Patrol members.
Utilizing the pilot's known cell phone number to obtain a ping, search teams located the downed aircraft at 12:44 a.m., Don Parker with the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue said.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board have been notified.