LA GRANDE — An aircraft and pilot that went off radar Sunday and were reported missing Tuesday have been located, the Union County Sheriff’s Office told The Observer Wednesday. 

Police said the pilot, who has not been identified, was dead when rescue crews located the plane.

The aircraft, a Piper PA32, was found near where it went off radar, close to Limber Jim Ridge, southwest of La Grande, according to UCSO Capt. Craig Ward.

Ward said the aircraft, which was traveling from Kennewick, Washington, to Ontario, “apparently got off course.” Near the crash site, “the aircraft began a rapid descent” from its altitude of 6,600 feet. Ward said Limber Jim Ridge is about 6,100 feet.

“Something happened,” Ward said. 

Lt. Col. Mark Young, commander of the Civil Air Patrol’s National Radar Analysis Team, said a radar track indicates the plane went down around 10 a.m. on Sunday.

Young said a relative of the male pilot, who was believed to be alone, reported the plane being overdue.

The Federal Aviation Administration will begin an investigation into what caused the crash, Ward said. 

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