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One dead after plane from San Diego crashes near Pasadena

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SAN DIEGO - One person died after a small airplane that departed from a San Diego airport crashed in the mountains north of Pasadena Sunday, authorities said.

The white Cessna 182 aircraft with blue stripes was spotted before 9 a.m. near Mount Wilson in the Angeles National Forest, according to a Los Angeles County Fire Department dispatcher. The wreckage was near Mount Wilson Road at the Angeles Crest Highway, state Route 2.

A heavy deck of clouds limited visibility to 200 feet, the dispatcher said.

"They (search and rescue teams) can see it, but they're unable to tell if there are any passengers," she said. "They're having an access problem."

The FAA reported the pilot had indicated a flight from San Diego to Santa Monica, west of Los Angeles. The crash site was not on a direct route, as Mount Wilson is about 90 miles northwest of San Diego and 35 miles northeast of Santa Monica.

Radar data from Flightaware.com showed that the plane had departed from Montgomery Field in San Diego at 7:37 a.m. Sunday, and was apparently in an approach pattern to Santa Monica Airport when it flew in a straight line to the northeast. The radar path ended near Mount Wilson.

FAA spokesman Allen Kenitzer said the plane had been en route from Montgomery Field to Santa Monica. It lost contact with ground controllers when it was 17 miles east of Van Nuys Airport, but no time of the contact loss was released.

The Cessna's tail number was N133BW, and FAA records indicate it was owned by a San Diego company.

The plane was among a fleet belonging to the Plus One Flyers club at Montgomery Field.

“You join the club as a pilot or as a student under the supervision of a flight instructor. You pay your dues and if you’re checked out in a particular airplane, you can fly it. You just get on the schedule and go fly it," said local pilot Bill Winsor.

Shane Terpstra, a safety officer with the club, said the planes are regularly checked out by mechanics.

“Very nice airplane, for the age. It’s very well-maintained. I’ve flown it many times myself. A lot of the more experienced pilots choose to fly this -- it's a little faster," said Terpstra.