Santa Cruz College Student Dies on Training Flight | NBC Bay Area

Santa Cruz College Student Dies on Training Flight

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    A hiker found the bodies of two people inside a plane that crashed Friday in a rugged, mountainous area near Emigrant Gap.

    The identities of the pilot and passenger were identified Saturday as Bryan McCullah, of Santa Cruz, and Gabriel Saurez, of Freedom, according to the Placer County coroner. The plane was registered to Monterey Bay Aviation Inc.'s United Flight Services in Watsonville.

    A representative from Monterey Bay Aviation said he'd rented the plane to two people and was stunned to hear of the crash.

    Saurez, 21, reserved the plane for a flight planned to last from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., according to online flight schedules. McCullah, 31, was listed as one of a flight instructors on the company's website. Saurez is a college student.

    Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said the agency believes the single-engine Piper Cherokee Arrow left from Watsonville for Auburn where it landed.

    It then took off from Auburn before crashing.

    The hiker spotted the plane wreckage in an area off Texas Hill Road, a half-mile north of the east fork of the American River and about 40 miles northeast of Auburn.

    The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board were at the crash site Saturday, Gregor said.The cause of the crash remains under investigation. contributed to this report.