The pilot of a small plane bound for the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport was killed when the aircraft crashed in the Point Reyes National Seashore in Marin County, authorities said Friday.

A Cessna 172 flying from Santa Ynez to the county airport was reported overdue Thursday afternoon, said Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration.

The pilot was the only person aboard the plane, and its last known position was near Bolinas, he said.

Search crews found the wreckage around 1 p.m. Friday in rough terrain at the seashore on the Marin coast, Gregor said in an email.

John Dell’Osso, a spokesman for the seashore, said a search party began scouring the southern area of the park after an emergency transmitter went off Thursday giving the aircraft’s location.

One body, believed to be the pilot, was recovered from the wreckage, he said.

About 30 people participated in the search over steep terrain, densely covered by coyote brush and poison oak, Dell’Osso said. Searchers used chainsaws to cut their way to the wrecked airplane.

The Sonoma County Sheriff’’s helicopter flew to the area but could not conduct an aerial search due to heavy fog, he said.

Officials suspect the crash happened Thursday afternoon and that fog may have contributed to the crash.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate, Gregor said.

Neither agency identifies people involved in aircraft accidents.

Jon Stout, the county airport manager, said he had not heard about the crash.

Pilots file flight plans with the FAA but are not required to contact their destination airport prior to departure, he said.

How to get involved

To apply or to donate, go to www.redwoodcu.org/northbayfirerelief.

Contributions to the fund may be made online or at any of RCU’s 17 North Bay and San Francisco locations. Checks payable to the RCU Community Fund, with 2017 North Bay Fire Relief in the memo line along with a notation “all” or a designated county, may be mailed to RCU Community Fund, P.O. Box 6104, Santa Rosa, 95406.

Companies interested in making six-figure donations may contact RCU at 707-545-4000 or 800-479-7928.

___

Read all of the PD's fire coverage here