On October 14, at about 10:00 p.m., the Pima County Sheriff’s Department was notified by Customs & Border Protection (CBP) about a wrecked aircraft they had located on the Northwest side of Tucson. CBP had deployed one of their Blackhawk helicopters upon request of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The FAA had lost radar contact with the airplane earlier that night and requested for CBP to conduct an area check for a possible wreck site. Pima County deputies responded to an area approximately 4 miles south of Avra Valley Road and Agua Dulce Ranch Road. Border Patrol agents had secured the crash site, which was located in a remote desert area.
Over the course of their initial investigation, Pima County Sheriff’s investigators were able to identify the sole occupant and pilot of the downed airplane as 57-year-old James Lloyd Thompson from El Centro, CA. The airplane was a Piper Model PA-28-151. Mr. Thompson did not survive the crash. It was determined that Mr. Thompson had dropped off family members in Las Cruces, NM and then stopped over in Benson, AZ. From there, he planned to return directly to El Centro, CA.
Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the FAA responded to the crash site as well. They will work on determining the cause of the crash. The investigation continues.