Ultralight crash

December 12, 1984
Hills north of Temescal Canyon

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By Jim Fairchild

The weather on this particular Wednesday presented huge cloud formations over and near all the mountains in sight. In the morning I was driving about the vicinity of Riverside observing the clouds and wind patterns, thinking of past missions to locate and pick up after plane crashes; the present conditions seemed ominous.

A SAD END - Sheriff's personnel stand by the body of a man killed when he and his Ultralight aircraft crashed in the foothills near Lake Mathews. (photo by Jim Fairchild)At about 4 p.m. I was about to finish my day's work when the pager sounded and said to call Al Andrews, our Coordinator. He gave directions to the scene of an airplane crash, which had been mentioned in the pager alert. By sundown I was at the scene, talking to Sgt. Shoemaker of the Sheriff's Office and Duane Twomley, of California Department of Forestry. They pointed out the crash site, only a third of a mile east of the road in rolling hills. The deputy and coroner on the scene had radioed to say they needed bolt cutters to remove the pilot, Barry Zielinski, age 39, of Huntington Beach, from his crushed ultralight, propeller-driven craft. Since I just happen to carry a nice bolt cutter in my truck, I was soon hiking along. First, I came to a wing that had separated from the plane, then a parachute with sling strung out from it, then the craft. But by now the men on the scene had removed the pilot, put him in a bag, and were carrying him down the hill to the two official cars at the bottom. Bernie McIlvoy and Mel Krug came along and went to inspect the wreckage. Kevin Walker and Ray Hussey arrived in Kevin's jeep, primarily because the cars were not going to be able to ascend the very steep "road" they had descended. Kevin and the rest of us assisted in the "rescue" of the cars, and triumphantly returned to base on the paved road.

The cause of the crash is unknown to us, and we are saddened to see a young life so abruptly terminated by falling out of the sky.