Pilot Killed in Small Plane Crash in San Bernardino County ID'd as Veteran LAFD Firefighter

A pilot who died in a small plane crash in San Bernardino County on Monday was identified as a 25-year veteran of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Brian Lee, an LAFD helicopter pilot and firefighter paramedic, was flying with a young passenger when the private plane crashed at El Mirage Dry Lake about 11:15 a.m., the LAFD said. Off-duty colleagues rush to help him.

Lee and a 7- to 8-year-old boy were airlifted to hospitals following the crash, according to the San Bernardino County Fire Department Spokeswoman Tracy Martinez. 

Lee died at the hospital, officials said. The boy was in critical condition.

Lee recently celebrated his 47th birthday, the LAFD said.

Officials planned on released information about a memorial service at a later date.

The plane was flying over El Mirage Dry Lake bed about 11 a.m. when it struck the ground and flipped several times, leaving a trail of debris more than 30 yards long.

"There was something that caused the aircraft to nosedive," San Bernardino Sheriff's Cpl. Randy Naquin said. "The pilot attempted to regain control of the aircraft, tried to land it, and the aircraft ended up doing a couple of barrel rolls."

The single-engine Grumman AA-1A was severely damaged in the crash, authorities said. The initial call reporting the crash came in as a helicopter crash.

The crash was reportedly near the northwest end of the lake.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration also responded to the crash.

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