California pilot with NM ties killed in plane crash in Arizona

Posted at: 10/16/2012 7:43 AM
Updated at: 10/16/2012 12:08 PM
By: The Associated Press

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - A California man is dead after the small plane he was piloting crashed in a rugged area about 45 miles outside Tucson.

Pima County Sheriff's officials on Monday identified the pilot as 57-year-old James Lloyd Thompson, of El Centro.

Investigators say Thompson was flying back to El Centro after dropping off family members in Las Cruces, N.M., and then stopping in Benson, Ariz.

He was the only person aboard the Piper when it crashed Sunday night in the Tucson Mountain District northwest of Avra Valley.

The Federal Aviation Administration lost radar contact with the plane about 9 p.m. and contacted U.S. Customs and Border Protection to start a search. Sheriff's officials say the wreckage was found in a remote desert area.

The FAA will investigate the cause of the crash.

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