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Update: Pilot found dead in wreckage of plane in Alameda County

Emergency teams operate from a Sunol unified command post.
Emergency teams operate from a Sunol unified command post. Alameda County Fire

An Alameda County sheriff’s official said the sole occupant of a single-engine plane believed to have been en route from Lincoln was found dead Tuesday afternoon in the wreckage near Castro Valley.

Sgt. J.D. Nelson, a spokesman for the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, said the plane was found in pieces in a hilly, wooded area about 4 p.m. He said the only person on board, a man, was deceased. Nelson said the man has not been identified, and he said the body might not be brought out until Wednesday morning, explaining that the wreckage is in a precarious location. Two firefighters suffered injuries trying to reach the site, he said.

A family member confirmed that the registered owner of the plane is John J. Sacco of Earthshine Consulting and said Sacco had been unreachable by phone.

Fire and law enforcement agencies had been searching the unincorporated area of Alameda County for an airplane that was reported in distress Tuesday morning.

Aisha Knowles, spokeswoman for the Alameda County Fire Department, said the pilot of a single-engine aircraft radioed air traffic controllers in Oakland that the plane was experiencing an engine problem. The department reported shortly before 4 p.m. that the wreckage had been found off Palomares Road.

Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said air traffic controllers lost radar and radio contact with a Piper PA-32 about 12 miles east of Oakland International Airport about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday. He said the FAA issued an alert notice, the first step in initiating a search.

Alameda County fire officials said limited visibility in the area prevented an air search.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy

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