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Officials Identify Pilot Killed In Crash Near Moreno Valley

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(CBS)

(CBS)

MORENO VALLEY (CBS) — A pilot killed in a plane crash near Moreno Valley Monday was identified as a 65-year-old Riverside man.

Christopher Julius Petrikas died Monday morning when his twin-engine Aero Commander went down in the Lake Perris State Recreation Area.

Petrikas departed Palm Springs International Airport solo around 9:30 a.m. en route to Chino Airport, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor says a relative of the pilot called Monday when the Aero Commander didn’t arrive as expected in Chino.

Gregor says the pilot, identified as Christopher Julius Petrikas, was using visual flight rules and didn’t communicate with air traffic controllers during the trip.

The aviator’s mobile phone remained active hours after the crash, and emergency officials “pinged” it to get a fix on his location, which turned out to be a hillside off of Via Del Lago.

A park ranger searching a section of the campground inaccessible to vehicles discovered the wreckage of the blue-and-white plane just after 3 p.m.

Authorities said Petrikas was killed on impact.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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