A small plane crashed in rugged terrain southwest of Mountain Center Thursday, and there were no immediate signs of survivors.
The aircraft was reported down about 12:40 p.m. near Bautista Road, within sight of the Bautista Conservation Camp in the San Bernardino National Forest, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.
The circumstances of the crash were unclear, but according to reports from the scene, the plane went down along a jagged ridgeline.
A sheriff’s helicopter was the first to reach the area, and the crew hovered over the crash, looking for survivors, but no one was seen near the remains of the plane, according to reports from the scene.
Multiple engine crews went to the location, staging at the conservation camp, and an air tanker was summoned to knock down a fire that ignited immediately after the crash. The blaze was creeping into the forest but at a slow rate of spread, officials said.
A Cal Fire helicopter crew was expected to attempt a landing in the vicinity of the downed plane.
The nearest airport is Hemet-Ryan, roughly eight miles to the northwest, but it was unclear whether the pilot departed that airfield, which also serves as a Cal Fire air tanker base.
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