A plane gone missing near Altadena early this morning prompted a massive search that included the activation of six of the eight Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) Search and Rescue Teams and LASD Air Rescue 5.
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department shared on Facebook:
'On Sunday, May, 15, 2016, at approximately 9:00 a.m., LASD Special Enforcement Bureau (SEB) Emergency Services Detail (ESD) first received information of a possible downed aircraft near Mount Wilson in the Angeles National Forest. At approximately 9:25 am, at ESD’s request, the Altadena and Montrose Search and Rescue Teams were activated and, along with the Los Angeles County Fire Department, responded. However, due to the very steep and rugged terrain and poor, zero visibility weather conditions that hindered a conclusive aerial search, four additional LASD Search and Rescue Teams comprising of the Antelope Valley, Santa Clarita, Sierra Madre and San Dimas, were requested to partake in a massive primary ground search of the missing plane.
All six search and rescue teams utilized 'direction finding equipment' during the ground search where heavy brush continuously reigned against the visibility of the approximate 50 volunteers and reserve deputies hiking through the treacherous terrain.
It was not until later in the day, at approximately 4 p.m., after some of the fog and clouds had cleared, that Air Rescue 5 was able to conduct an aerial search, locating the downed aircraft at approximately 5:20 p.m., on the south side of Brown Mountain, on a rugged cliff side, approximately four miles north of Altadena.
Air Rescue 5 lowered two ESD paramedics from the helicopter. They used rope systems to secure themselves on the side of the mountain to search the area and determined a male adult and sole occupant was deceased in the wreckage.
LASD’s Aero Bureau accident investigators, in conjunction with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the incident.
Pending identification by the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner – Coroner and notification of next of kin, the identity of the deceased will not be released.
About the LASD Reserve Forces Programs:
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Search and Rescue (SAR) Team members are Reserve Sheriff’s deputies who volunteer their time to help others for $1 a year, and who partner with sheriff’s civilian volunteers who volunteer for free.
The SAR program consists of eight teams throughout Los Angeles County with 170 Reserve Sheriff’s deputies and civilian volunteers who donate their time performing these life-saving rescues. They are available 24/7 and respond at a moment’s notice. Also, besides being skilled mountaineers, they are all Emergency Medical Technicians, providing the highest level of care to anyone injured in the forest.
SAR Teams perform these rescues frequently in partnership with LASD Air 5 Rescue helicopter. This combination of the full-time paid air rescue crew combined with the SAR Teams on the ground make the LASD mountain rescue program the most highly trained and proficient in the country.
LASD Sheriff's Emergency Services Detail (ESD) deputies operate 24-hours a day, seven days a week. In addition to their tactical operations, all ESD deputies are certified paramedics and rescue divers. ESD is responsible for coordinating and participating in mountain search and rescue, underwater search and rescue, and swift water and flood rescue operations for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. They staff the Air-5 Rescue Helicopter, the Ocean Rescue Boat, and accompany the Special Weapons Teams on all operations. '
The Air-5 rescue helicopter crews, including Emergency Services Detail paramedics, and the over 150 members of the eight Search and Rescue teams of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department average about 550 search and rescue missions every year, making it one of the most active counties for search and rescue missions in the nation.