Downed plane’s owner was from Orinda |

Downed plane’s owner was from Orinda

Susan Wood, Tahoe Daily Tribune

The identities of the two people who died in the single-engine plane that crashed this week edged closer to finality Thursday.

The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed the registration number taken from the plane that ended up sparking a 294-acre wildfire near Luther Pass matches that of the aircraft that took off from South Lake Tahoe on Monday morning en route to Buchanan Field in Concord. The plane was reported overdue that afternoon, when the wildfire was first reported.

The registered owner of the Piper plane is from Orinda.

It’s unclear whether the owner was the pilot of the plane that plunged into the Meiss backcountry in the southwestern section of the burn area of the Showers fire. The acreage next to Highway 89 spanned a region west of Big Meadow and east of Elbert Lake.

Autopsy results on a male and female passenger taken from the plane wreckage are still pending, the Washoe County Coroner’s Office reported Thursday evening. The coroner plans on relying on dental records to make a positive identification, perhaps as early as today.

Meanwhile, U.S. Forest Service fire and work crews were performing rehabilitation work along the Dardanelles (Lake) Trail and mopping up — addressing fire snags and rolling debris.

Hikers and mountain bikers are urged to avoid the area, the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit asked.

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