Pilot killed in small plane crash on Mount Diablo identified by friends

Loved ones are remembering a pilot who was killed in small plane crash on Mount Diablo overnight Friday.

Friends identified Chris de Bar, 48, from Granite Bay in Placer County as the sole occupant of the Mooney M20 single-engine plane that took off from Hayward Airport on Friday night bound for Lincoln, north of Sacramento.

Friends said de Bar had a big personality and liked taking on challenges.

Keith Holland said he most recently took up flying.

“I’m in disbelief,” said Holland. “I just couldn't believe it. He was a larger than life guy. Everyone knew him. All the musicians in the South Bay knew who he was. He played in various bands.”

It wasn’t until 2:45 p.m. Saturday that hikers on Mount Diablo, 2,500 feet up and 40 yards off a trail, discovered the wreckage of the aircraft near Summit Road. The hikers alerted a park maintenance worker. The family had reported the plane missing.

As his family and friends mourn, investigators from both the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board visited the crash site on Sunday looking into what went wrong.

“It’s a somewhat difficult area to access and the recovery is going to be difficult as well to get the aircraft out with the least amount of damage to the park,” said Mount Diablo Supervising State Park Ranger Cameron Morrison.

Authorities devised a plan to preserve and remove the plane, yet vegetation and Sunday’s snow hampered their efforts.

“It’s 100 yards from the road,” said Morrison. “If we're going to do a ground transport on it, we're going to have to find some cable to pull it that far.”

It could take up to a year for federal investigators to complete their investigation. For now, they are looking at another day to try and remove the wreckage of the small plane and the pilot's body.