PALM SPRINGS – The man and woman who were killed when a light plane headed from Palm Springs to El Cajon crashed northeast of Julian were identified today as the plane’s registered owner and his girlfriend, authorities said.
Roberta Ann Rose, 52, and Andrew William Thulin, 55, both of San Diego, were en route to Gillespie Filed in the single-engine Mooney M20E when aircraft control reported that the plane had gone missing about 6:15 p.m. Wednesday over the Volcan Mountain Wilderness Preserve, according to sheriff’s officials and the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office.
A sheriff’s helicopter was unable to fly over the mountainous area because of sleet, light snow and high winds in the area where the aircraft was last known to be flying. Search-and-rescue personnel were sent to look for the plane using coordinates obtained from a signal off the pilot’s cell phone, authorities said.
The wreckage of the aircraft was found on a rugged, steep hillside about a half-mile from a road at the top of Volcan Mountain early Thursday with the bodies of Rose and Thulin in its cockpit, the Medical Examiner’s Office and sheriff’s officials reported.
Recovery of the bodies was postponed until Thursday afternoon due to the severe weather, authorities said.
Bodies of man and woman found in plane wreckage this morning
JULIAN – The bodies of a man and woman were found early today in the wreckage of a small airplane that crashed in rugged terrain near Julian on a flight from Palm Springs to Gillespie Field, authorities said.
A sheriff’s search and rescue team, along with deputies from Julian and a U.S. Border Patrol team, made the discovery around 12:45 a.m. on the Volcan Mountain Wilderness Preserve, roughly four miles northeast of Julian, according to San Diego County sheriff’s Lt. Dave Schaller.
The single-engine Piper Mooney fixed-wing aircraft was reported missing by Gillespie Field officials around 6:15 p.m. Wednesday. They told deputies that contact with the plane was lost somewhere over the Julian area, Schaller said.
The sheriff’s department had originally wanted to use helicopters in the search but changed plans because of the sleet, snow and high winds, according to sheriff’s Sgt. Don Parker. A ground search was conducted instead, with rescuers utilizing a ”ping” from the pilot’s cell phone number that allowed them to locate the wreckage, Parker said.
Plane flying from Palm Springs to Gillespie overdue; rugged terrain to be searched
SAN DIEGO – A plane flying from Palm Springs to Gillespie Field was overdue tonight.
The San Diego County 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 single-engine Mooney fixed-wing aircraft, Schaller said.
Sheriff’s deputies said officials at Gillespie Field reported the plane from Palm Springs had not arrived at 6:15 p.m..
The area to be searched was the plane’s last known location.
It was not known how many were aboard the plane.