The National Transportation Safety Board released a preliminary report Wednesday on the plane crash that killed a student pilot earlier this month in the Mt. Diablo area of unincorporated Contra Costa County, but did not reveal the cause of the crash.
Based on radar data, investigators believe the plane was traveling northeast, and repeatedly made slight turns to the north, until it crashed around 8:10 p.m. roughly three-quarters of a mile southwest of Mt. Diablo's summit, roughly 1,000 feet below the peak, and disappeared from radar.
No flight plan had been filed when 49-year-old Chris de Bar of Granite Bay took off from the Hayward Executive Airport, but he was reported missing by a family member when he failed to arrive at his planned destination.
A search was organized, but the wreckage went unnoticed until the following day, when it was found by hikers around 2:30 p.m. Investigators from the NTSB responded to the scene, where they found a debris field roughly 100 feet long.
The Mooney M20F sustained major damage from the impact, as well as a post-impact fire, according to NTSB investigators. They transported the wreckage to a secure facility for further examination.