Kern County Search and Rescue teams started early. Combing the foothills by air, and on ATV's looking for any sign of a plane, since it had disappeared from radar and radio around 4 Sunday afternoon. "We received the initial call from the airport in Bakersfield that an airplane had possibly gone down in the area of Woody," says Ray Pruitt, Kern County Sheriff's Department.
Because of poor weather and fog, crews were limited to a ground search Sunday night. And it, too, was suspended around midnight as conditions worsened.
A helicopter joined the search Monday morning and thanks to the clear conditions, they spotted the downed 1968 single engine Beechcraft Bonanza in only about 10 minutes. "My understanding is it's a fairly rugged area as you can see, we are in the foothills. and what I've been told that the area where the crash site is located is actually a little more rugged terrain than what we have here," adds Pruitt.
Investigators had to hike in or use off road vehicles to get to the site. 17 News has learned the plane was registered to a business-- Floyd Johnston Construction in Clovis. And the plane had left from San Diego Sunday on its way to the Fresno Airport, when it went down, killing both men on board.
People who knew them came to the crash site, visibly upset and crying over their sudden loss. Those people declined to talk to us as well as the employees at Floyd Johnston Construction. The Kern County Coroner has identified the men as James Johnston of Sanger, California and Jacob Curiel of Imperial, Ca.
The NTSB and FAA should have a preliminary report on the crash in a couple of weeks. But it will take months to determine the cause.