Pilot killed in LA-area plane crash identified

Posted at 7:22 AM, May 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-17 15:12:09-04

ALTADENA, Calif. - Authorities Tuesday identified a pilot who was killed when his small plane crashed near Altadena in the Angeles National Forest.

Thomas Bruff, 57, died at the scene of Sunday's crash, the Los Angeles County coroner's office reported.

RELATED: Plane from San Diego crashes in Los Angeles area; pilot found dead after crash

The white Cessna 182 aircraft with blue stripes was located about 4:30 p.m. Sunday at the 4,000-foot level about four miles north of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said Sgt. M. Zager of the Sheriff's Air Operations Bureau.

Authorities had received a report about 8:20 a.m. Sunday that the plane, which crashed into a rugged cliffside of Brown Mountain, was missing, Capt. Bill Song of the sheriff's Crescenta Valley station said. Radar data from showed that the plane departed at 7:37 a.m. Sunday from Montgomery Field in San Diego.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said the plane had been en route to Santa Monica on an instrument flight plan. It lost contact with ground controllers about 8:30 a.m. when it was 17 miles east of Van Nuys Airport.

The Altadena and Montrose search-and-rescue teams responded, along with the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Additional sheriff's search-and-rescue teams from Antelope Valley, Santa Clarita, Sierra Madre and San Dimas were called in to take part in a massive ground search because foggy conditions hindered the air search.

The Cessna's tail number was N133BW, and FAA records indicate it was owned by a San Diego company. The National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA will investigate the crash.