Pilot’s Demise at Grout
Investigator viewing experimental Sonic
at Grout Bay Big Bear Lake PHOTO
BY Richard Millener
UPDATE: October 23, 2014 – The pilot of the plane has
been identified by the San Bernardino County Coroner as, Walter "Clare" Lutton, 60, Columbus, Ohio.
Russell ____ An experimental Sonic plane occupied only by the pilot took off in a westward direction from
the Big Bear Airport runway, Monday morning about 10:20 A.M. According to those
at the airport, they observed the aircraft experiencing unknown problems
causing the plane to go down on the shoreline of Big Bear Lake, Grout Bay
Campground in the community of Fawnskin. Immediate response from the nearby San
Bernardino County Fire emergency team arrived on the crash site, finding the
male pilot deceased at approximately 10:46 A.M. It was determined that there
were no other passengers in the plane. Investigators
from the National Transportation Safety Board, the Federal Aviation
Administration along with the San Bernardino County Aviation Division and San Bernardino
County/Big Bear Deputy Sheriff Jim Wijnhamer are investigating the cause of the
accident. The FAA
identified Steve M. Morris as the registered owner of the aircraft; who resides
in Bayside in Humboldt County, California.
When the scanner alert at 10:49 A.M announced the down
plane in the Fawnskin area, several media were at a press conference at Glory
Ridge. Caltrans PIO Teri Kasinga had called the media to be on scene of the Cessna 172S that crashed Thursday in the canyon
below State Route 18. Those at that site already since early morning were: San Bernardino
County Fire PIO Mark Peebles, ROTW News Editor Michael Neufeld, Channel 5 KTLA,
Big Bear Lake News Room Editor E T Russell and Photographer Richard Millener. After
witnessing the Cessna rescue by helicopter, the press representatives disbanded
to the Fawnskin incident.
An autopsy is in
process to determine the exact cause of death. The Sonic pilot's name will be released when the positive identification
has been completed by the San Bernardino County Coroner.
For information about the Cessna crash, visit: http://www.bigbearlake.net/etnews/sr18-plane-crash-recovery-