Plane Crashes Near Petaluma Airport; Pilot Dead

A pilot was found dead after a small plane crashed near the Petaluma Municipal Airport Friday night.

The plane came from Alaska and Col. Carleton Morrison was on his way to San Diego from Petaluma before crashing, according to Sgt. Spencer Crum of Sonoma County Sheriff's Office.

Morrison, 75, sent a distress call at 6:40 p.m. Friday, and the airport notified the Sheriff's Office but the plane was discovered later around 10 p.m.

Morrison's colleague Col. Jon Stokes of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) confirmed his identity Saturday afternoon. Stokes said Morrison began serving in CAP in 2006. 

"Col. Morrison was the type of Airman that we should all aspire to be; dedicated, compassionate and always forward-looking," Stokes said.

Morrison's family released a statement Saturday stating, "We are so saddened by the passing of our husband, father, and friend, Carl Morrison. The plane he was flying crashed near Petaluma in Northern California on his way home from a business trip. He has touched many lives. We love him and will miss him greatly!"

The cause of the plane crash is unknown, Crum said. The plane was registered out of Fallbrook, California, in San Diego County, according to the information pulled from the plane's tail number.

The FAA and the NTSB will investigate the incident, according to Allen Kenitzer of FAA's Office of Communications.

No other information was immediately available.

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