Friday, March 19, 2004 | 10:56 a.m.
A small single-engine plane apparently crashed overnight, killing the pilot in a remote desert area near Jean, Metro Police said.
Police got a call on a downed aircraft shortly after 7 a.m. when a man who operates a private mine in the area saw the sun reflecting off metal, Metro Police Search and Rescue Sgt. Clint Bassett said.
The man crossed the rugged terrain and found the wreckage of a Piper Tomahawk. Federal records show the aircraft was owned by Chuck Herrmann, owner of Desert Southwest Airlines, a flight school at Henderson Executive Airport.
Reached at his company's offices this morning, Herrmann refused to comment or provide any information about the plane that had crashed.
At the crash site this morning, a man in a county vehicle, identifying himself as a Henderson airport official, confirmed the plane was based out of Henderson.
A Desert Southwest Airlines employee said this morning that the 25-year-old flight training company sometimes rents out its planes, but, like Herrmann, she referred all questions about the crash to National Transportation Safety Board investigators, who were not available for comment.
The crash occurred in a sagebrush-covered area five miles east of the old Los Angeles Highway, which is now an extension of Las Vegas Boulevard, about two miles north of the Gold Strike Hotel and Nevada Landing in Jean.
Bassett said police found just one person inside the plane -- the pilot.
"It appears the plane came in real steep," Bassett said, noting the plane appeared to come from the northwest and that the crash apparently happened overnight.
Bassett said "it's hard to say" whether the pilot was trying to land or had some type of mechanical difficulties that caused him to crash.
The Federal Aviation Administration, National Transportation Safety Board and Clark County coroner's office were en route to the scene this morning, Bassett said.