Authorities are investigating the crash of a small, single-engine plane into a mountainside in Beverly Crest on Saturday night that killed the only occupant.

The Los Angeles Fire Department was contacted by air traffic control personnel requesting assistance in locating a plane that had gone missing around 8 p.m. Saturday night. 

Thick fog made a search by air impossible, so more than a dozen firefighters conducted a three-hour search on foot for the aircraft, which was eventually found near the 3500 block of Beverly Glen Terrace. 

The plane crashed on a steep hillside near a large water tank and close to several homes, giving residents quite the scare. 

  • Beverly Crest fatal plane crash
  • Beverly Crest fatal plane crash
  • Beverly Crest fatal plane crash

“We were just sitting in our living room, and then we heard a large crashing noise,” said Joubin Soleimani. “It sounded like an eighteen-wheeler crashed.” 

The plane is registered as a Cessna Skyhawk C172 with the aircraft tail number N575ND.  

Online records indicate the plane is registered to Camarillo Flight Instruction and took off from Palm Springs around 6:49 p.m. The pilot left Bermuda Dunes in Palm Springs and was trying to return home, but suddenly started flying to the Van Nuys Airport where air traffic control had cleared him to land, according to officials from the National Transportation Safety Board.

“The pilot made that turn towards the airport and started descending. Radar contact was lost about a minute later,” Elliot Simpson, a NTSB Senior Aviation Accident Investigator,” said.

NTSB, which is assisting in the investigation, also said that there were no mayday signals and no signs of distress. Officials said the plane will be removed from the crash site tomorrow and taken to a facility in Phoenix for the investigation. A preliminary report is expected in about two weeks.

The pilot’s name was not immediately released.