Sheriff's department searches for overdue plane

Plane flying from Palm Springs to Gillespie Field

SAN DIEGO - The San Diego County Sheriff's Department is searching for a small airplane heading from Palm Springs to Gillespie Field that is overdue.

According to the sheriff's department, the plane -- described as a single-engine Pier Mooney -- lost contact over the Julian area at about 6:15 p.m.

The sheriff's department had planned to use helicopters to search the rugged terrain near the Volcan Mountain Wilderness Preserve four miles northeast of Julian, but dropped those plans because of weather, according to Lt. Dave Schaller.

Instead, a ground search will be conducted for the aircraft, Schaller said. Helicopters will aid in the search efforts as soon as weather permits.

The sheriff's department also has San Diego police officers trying to make contact with the pilot at multiple locations in San Diego to make sure the pilot did not just forget to check in at the airport. They said if police have no luck they will increase their search efforts.

It is unknown how many were onboard the plane.

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