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UPDATE: Victims of plane crash in remote Santa Barbara County identified

Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office

UPDATE: Monday, August 10, 2015 at 10:21 p.m.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Coroner’s Unit has positively identified the two victims who were killed in a plane crash Thursday night. The wreckage wasn't located until Friday morning.

The pilot was 58-year-old David Martz of San Diego and the passenger was 56-year-old Greg Bacino, also from San Diego.

Mr. Martz, a commercial pilot, was hired by Mr. Bacino to fly him to a business meeting in San Luis Obispo, according to a statement by the Sheriff's Office. The two were flying home from the San Luis Obispo Airport around 9:00 p.m. in a rented Cessna from the San Diego area when it appears they had engine trouble and crashed in a remote area of the Los Padres National Forest near Don Victor Trail.

The crash is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration.

UPDATE: Friday, August 7, 2015 at 5:26 p.m.

A second body has been discovered among the wreckage of an overnight place crash in the mountains of southern Santa Barbara County.

The Sheriff's Office says the victims were both men in their 50s or 60s. The coroner's unit is in the process of identifying them.

The Associated Press reported the plane had originated in Lompoc according to the FAA.


Search and rescue crews were able to locate and access Friday morning a small plane that crashed on a hillside near the border of Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties Thursday night.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office says a "Mayday" call signaling engine trouble came into the Emergency Communications Center around 10:00 p.m. Thursday.

The U.S. Coast Guard, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team and Civil Air Patrol were alerted at that time.

"Due to the fact the plane could have landed in the ocean or on land in either Santa Barbara County or Ventura County, personnel from both counties and the U.S. Coast Guard responded," the Sheriff's Office said in a statement. "Upon further investigation it was determined that the plane went down somewhere just north of Jameson Lake about 30 to 40 miles north of Ojai."

The participating agencies were able to locate the plane using its emergency locater transmissions. They found it on land in a remote area near Don Victor Trail.  The wreckage was spotted around 4:30 a.m. on Friday, and it took responders until 7:00 a.m. to physically reach it.

"When they did arrive at the site, personnel from the Ventura County Air Unit discovered the body of the pilot in the aircraft and no survivors," the statement said. "Due to the precarious position of the aircraft, responders are currently assessing the scene in order to determine how to safely extricate the victim." 

Credit Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office
The wreckage of a small plane crash discovered early Friday morning near the border of Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.

  The identity of the decedent is unknown at this time and once confirmed will not be released until next of kin are notified.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office said the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will conduct an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the crash including where the aircraft was coming from, where it was headed and what led to the accident.