Pilot Dead in Crash on Santa Catalina Island

CATALINA ISLAND (CNS) - Rescue crews searching Catalina Island for a missing helicopter found a crash site on the west end of the island today and confirmed that one person, presumed to be aircraft's pilot, had died.

The wreckage was discovered shortly before 10 a.m., Los Angeles County fire Inspector Sky Cornell said. Although crews had been searching for a helicopter, Cornell described the wreckage as that of a one- or two-seater personal aircraft.

Crews began searching the general area about 9:20 a.m. on a report that a helicopter had gone missing “about 11 hours earlier,” Cornell said.

Allen Kenitzer of the Federal Aviation Administration said his agency received an unconfirmed report of “a missing Robinson R44 helicopter that was traveling from Torrance to Avalon.”

After a search by personnel including members of the U.S. Coast Guard and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, the wreckage of the small aircraft was discovered, along with the body of the pilot, who was the lone occupant, Cornell said.

Information was not immediately available on the identity or gender of the pilot.

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