By Raiza Giorgi
When Pierre Josefsohn went for his flight Wednesday afternoon, Santa Ynez Airport Authority President Shawn Knight said that it was not unusual for the free spirited man to be gone for several days.
“He loved camping in the back country, but what made it unusual is that he said he had an appointment and had to be back by 4 p.m. I had left before then, but was alerted later in the afternoon he never came back and that was not like him at all,” Knight said.
He added with the impending storm, his friend also did not like to fly in inclement weather.
When Josefsohn didn’t return the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team were notified and began flying the area around 8 p.m.
“The Santa Barbara County Sheriff/Fire Air Support Unit was contacted and begin flying the area but due to the dark and foggy conditions, search efforts were suspended. A plan was formulated to resume search efforts at daybreak,” said Lt. Brian Olmstead of the Sheriff’s Department.
At 3 a.m. Thursday, the rescue team deployed again to reach the area where Josefsohn’s radar tracker was last sending a signal. At daybreak the units drove 4X4 and all-terrain vehicles to search the area by foot. They spotted aircraft wreckage and Josefsohn’s body around 7:30 a.m. and the Air Support Unit confirmed.
It took Sheriff’s Search and Rescue about an hour and a half to climb up a steep ridgeline to a point above the wreckage where they then utilized ropes to rappel down to the decedent. Search and Rescue and Air Support teams worked together to recover the decedent. He was hoisted out of the area by Copter 3 and was turned over to the Sheriff’s Coroner’s Office at the Santa Barbara Airport, Olmstead added.
“Pierre was an adventurer and his photographs from all around the world are incredible. I will miss him dearly, he was a beloved member of our community,” Knight added.
Josefsohn, 68, of Solvang, is survived by his wife and two children. He was an experienced pilot and the cause of the crash is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.