Officials say a ranch hand discovered the wreckage of a small plane with a body inside on private property in Kern County.
KBAK-TV reports the Pitts S2E biplane was spotted Wednesday in a rugged canyon at Tejon Ranch.
First responders used off-road vehicles to reach the wreckage south of Bakersfield.
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Sheriff's spokesman Ray Pruitt confirmed that the pilot died and that investigators believe he or she was the only person on board.
Ian Gregor of the Federal Aviation Administration said the plane had been reported missing around 7 p.m. Tuesday. He said it was heading from Bakersfield to Blythe.