By Kurt Repanshek 

A small plane crashed in the rugged backcountry of Sequoia National Park in California, claiming the lives of two on board, the National Park Service said Saturday.

The park’s dispatch center Saturday morning received a report from the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center of an overdue fixed-wing single-engine aircraft. It was said to have departed from Visalia Airport in California on Friday at 11 a.m. and was due at Needles Airport in San Bernardino County at 1 p.m. Friday.

Radar tapes showed last location to be near the Upper Horse Creek drainage in the park’s Mineral King wilderness.

Sequoia’s helitack team was able to locate the aircraft crash site shortly after 8 a.m. Saturday. At this time there have been two confirmed fatalities. A small fire approximately one-half acre in size associated with the crash was being contained by park personnel.

Further details on the crash were not immediately available. The crash site is located in a remote wilderness location and not accessible by vehicle. The investigation is under the jurisdiction of National Transportation Safety Board.

Earlier this week a small plane crash in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia killed the pilot, who was flying alone. The plane crashed about three-quarters of a mile down the Buck Hollow Trail from Skyline Drive in the park’s Central District.