Descanso plane crash victims identified

Posted at 10:37 AM, Aug 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-26 13:37:59-04

DESCANSO, Calif. (KGTV and CNS) -- Authorities Sunday released the identities of the two men killed when a small plane crashed in rough terrain in East County.

77-year-old David Alan Derby, a commercial pilot from Santee, and 36-year-old Ryan Michael Willis of San Diego, were found early Thursday morning after their plane didn’t return on schedule.

The two took off from Gillespie Field Wednesday evening in a 1682G Champion 7KCAB certified aircraft. When the single-engine plane didn’t report back, a search ensued, leading investigators to find a possible crash site after observing a steep descent on radar.

RELATED: Wreckage of missing plane with two people on board found in East County

A helicopter was able to locate the plane near Descanso, roughly 17 miles northeast of Gillespie Field.

Derby and Willis were both determined to have died in the crash.

Derby held his pilot’s license since 2003, according to the FAA. The plane was registered to Derby’s company, Three Point Partners Inc.