A man from Healdsburg was flying a plane that crashed Monday in a pond in rural Colusa County, killing him and his passenger.
The Colusa County Sheriff's Office said they found the bodies of Jeffrey Webber, 66, of Healdsburg, and Lionel Robin, 71, of Arnaudville, Louisiana, in the middle of the wreck. The small private plane was heading for Sonoma County, authorities said.
MPs, an air squadron and a diving team responded at 12:15 pm. Federal aviation authorities report that a plane carrying two passengers and a dog had crashed about 3 km away south of Colusa. The plane had taken off from Colusa County Airport about an hour earlier and was heading to the Healdsburg Municipal Airport, said Deputy Sheriff Jim Saso. He did not say what time the plane crashed or what caused his "steep" descent, he said.
Visibility was low at the time of the accident, said Greg Hinton, director of airport operations.
Webber was piloting the plane, which did not launch distress call, Saso said.
The two men were the "best friends" who went hunting together, he said. Robin was a Cajun chef who, in 2002, was named one of the star chefs of the James Beard Foundation, according to the foundation's records and obituary.
Drake Fusaro, a fishing and hunting guide in the Butte Sink area, said Robin was in California to hunt duck with Webber. The two men had spent Saturday and Sunday hunting ducks with Fusaro and various members of Webber's family. He added that Webber was an avid customer and had known him for years.
"He was a very special individual. He was always very energetic and he was there to have a good time, "said Fusaro.
Unlike many duck hunters, he said, for Webber, "it was not about killing or quantity; it was about spending time outside and spending time with people who were with us blind. "
He said that Webber loved to joke and tell stories and that he would make accents and impressions.
"It's the first thing that came to my mind when I heard the news is that I will not be able to hear his jokes anymore," Fusaro said.
A Webber brother, reachable by phone on Wednesday, said the family was preparing an obituary and had no other comments.
Sherbin Collette, Mayor of Henderson, Louisiana, said he was a close friend of Robin since elementary school. He said that Robin was a generous and generous man, passionate about hunting and attached great importance to the company of his dog Max.
It is not known if the dog was the same in the plane. This dog was found seriously injured on a nearby road, was given to a veterinarian in Yuba City and is expected to survive, said Saso.
"I have never spoken to anyone in my life who said anything bad about him. He was that kind of man, "said Collette. "I told him many times, I told him:" Lionel, we should have more people on Earth like you. "
Webber is listed as the director of the Chalk Hill Consulting advisory group based in Healdsburg, according to state records. The management consulting services group is listed as the registered owner of the 1984 single-engine fixed-wing aircraft that crashed, according to FAA records.