Recovery efforts were planned Wednesday to recover a single-engine plane that crashed in rural Castro Valley, killing one person aboard.
On Tuesday, search crews found a body at the scene of the wreckage, on Palomares Road and officials believe it is likely the pilot and owner of the plane, 60-year-old John Sacco. The San Francisco Chronicle reported Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Sacco to the state Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board earlier this year. The Rocklin, Calif. resident was a safety engineer and industrial hygiene consultant as well as president and CEO of Earthshine Consulting, Inc., where he had worked since 1998, according to an online biography, the Chronicle reported.
At 11:25 a.m., the plane was traveling at 74 knots, but slowed dramatically to 39 knots a minute later, sources told NBC Bay Area. The pilot reportedly lost contact with air traffic control three minutes later, sources said. A knot is equivalent to about 1.1 miles.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said air traffic controllers lost radar and radio contact with the plane, a Piper PA-32, about 12 miles east of Oakland International Airport around 11:30 a.m.
The Alameda County Fire Department received reports of a downed aircraft, which was traveling from Lincoln in Placer County to Oakland, at 12:02 p.m., Alameda County Fire Department spokeswoman Aisha Knowles said.
Sources said that the plane's tail number is N323PA. The single-engine aircraft belongs to Sacco, a well-known businessman in the Sacramento-area, who was appointed to the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board in August.
Sacco's LinkedIn profile indicates that he owns Earthshine Consulting, which is based in Rocklin. There is no word yet on whether he was flying the plane when it went down.
Two Alameda County firefighters suffered non life-threatening injuries during the ground search for the downed plane, but were treated and back at work, the department tweeted out early Wednesday.
No one knows yet what caused the small plane to crash near the Sunol and Castro Valley border.
But aviation expert Mike McCarron said there are many factors, including weather, that come into play when an aircraft goes down.
"It's very changeable," McCarron said of weather conditions. "It's a critical factor for any tpe of plane, whether it be commercial or general."
Tuesday's incident comes two days after another single-engine plane, carrying a family of five from Gilroy, crashed near Bakersfield.
Bay City News contributed to this report.