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5 bodies found in California plane wreckage

Five members of a Gilroy family were found dead in the widely-spread wreckage of a small plane that crashed into an almond orchard in California near Bakersfield Saturday afternoon.

Around that time, Kern County sheriff’s officials got a report that an aircraft had crashed near Panama Lane and South Allen Road in southwest Bakersfield, said Sgt. Mark King. The victims have not yet been identified.

According to CNN, the plane had sent a mayday call at 4.30pm.

The Sheriff’s Office, Bakersfield Police Department, California Highway Patrol and Kern County Fire Department responded to the area and conducted a ground search, the release said. He said the debris field stretched about a quarter of a mile.

It is unclear if weather was a factor in the crash.

The single-engine Piper PA32 was flying from San Jose to Las Vegas when it lost contact with air traffic controllers around 4pm PST/12am GMT on 19 December.

“The NTSB is in charge of the investigation”, he said. The FAA says it will take months, if not longer, to determine the probable cause of this crash.

The aircraft with tail number N36402 is registered to RAD Aviation of San Jose, Calif. It appears that that plane has been owned by the same company since it was built in 2006.

The crash was only about 30 miles from the site of a medical helicopter crash that killed four people in heavy rain and fog 10 days earlier.

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