Two Dead After Plane Crashes In Remote Placer County

A photo of the plane that crashed in Placer County (United Flight Services photo)

The bodies of two people have been recovered from the wreckage of a single-engine plane that crashed in a remote area of Placer County Friday.

The plane was seen flying at a low altitude by a hiker near Emigrant Gap in Placer County around 1:00pm Friday. The hiker told FOX40 News he saw the plane smash into the ground and discovered the wreckage shortly thereafter.

The plane, a single-engine Piper Arrow 3 aircraft, was registered to Monterey Bay Aviation, Inc. A woman from Monterey Bay Aviation told FOX40 News by phone the plane is used as a rental aircraft for a side company called United Flight Services based out of Watsonville in Santa Cruz County.

FOX40 attempted to contact United Flight Services Friday before the end of the business day, but our phone calls went unanswered. A woman said owner Bob Ross was in no mood to speak to reporters when FOX40 News attempted to reach him in a subsequent phone call Friday afternoon.

Federal Aviation Administration officials say the flight departed from Watsonville for the Auburn Airport, then from Auburn to an unknown destination. The crash site near Emigrant Gap is thirty miles northeast of Auburn.

According to schedules filed by United Flight Services, the aircraft that crashed Friday afternoon was reserved for use by 21-year-old college student Gabriel Suarez and 31-year-old Brian McCullah. Calls to cell phone numbers listed in the flight scheduler for Suarez and McCullah went unanswered Friday. The coroner's office say Suarez and McCullah were on board the flight.

The California Highway Patrol says Suarez and McCullah were ejected from the plane when the aircraft hit the ground. It's unclear if either were wearing seatbelts.

Inspectors with the National Transportation Safety Board are scheduled to arrive at the crash site Saturday. NTSB officials say it could take months to determine the cause of the accident.