Search for small plane that never arrived in San Diego

SAN DIEGO (CNS/CBS8) – San Diego Sheriff’s deputies are searching the rugged terrain near the Volcan Mountain Wilderness Preserve four miles northeast of Julian for an overdue small plane.

Sheriff’s deputies said officials at San Diego’s Gillespie Field reported the plane from Palm Springs had not arrived as expected at 6:15p.m.

The area being searched was the plane’s last known location in the mountains near Julian.

News 8 has learned the plane is registered to Andrew Thulin, of San Diego. San Diego Police officers were spotted knocking on the door of Thulin’s San Carlos condo on Wednesday night, but nobody was home.

Neighbors said they did not see Thulin or his live-in girlfriend at all on Wednesday, which was unusual.

“Him and his girlfriend walked their dog regularly,” said Nick Morales, a neighbor. “He always says hello.”

The plane was a single-engine Mooney fixed-wing aircraft. It’s believed two people may have been aboard the plane.

Authorities said they are not classifying Thulin as a missing person just yet because there’s a chance the plane has already landed safely.

“We’re hoping that this is just a matter of they landed and failed to check in. That is our hope,” said Jan Caldwell with the San Diego Sheriff’s Department. “But we’re not going to operate on that. We’re going to do a full-on search until we find this plane.”

Authorities attempted to send a helicopter into the Julian area but were unable to due to inclement weather. Another attempt will be made when weather conditions improve, according to the sheriff’s department.