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Pilot killed in Goleta ultralight crash identified


The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office has identified 45-year-old Santa Barbara resident Matthew Erwin Wilson as the pilot killed in an Ultralight aircraft crash at a Goleta apartment complex carport Tuesday morning.

The Sheriff’s Office says the Ultralight had taken off the Santa Barbara Airport at about 10:04 a.m.. Five minutes later, investigators say the aircraft went down and crashed into a carport and then a parked car in the 60 block of Willow Springs Road.

The FAA and NTSB have launched investigations into the cause of the crash.

The Sheriff’s Coroner’s Office is conducting a death investigation to help determine an official cause and manner of death.



A pilot was killed when his ultralight aircraft crashed into a Goleta apartment complex Tuesday morning. Eyewitnesses saw the accident just after 10:00 a.m. near Hollister and Los Carneros Road.

The aircraft was described as “out of control” above the Willow Springs apartment by witness Aaron Coon. He ran to the scene to help the victim after the crash but the pilot was unresponsive. The identification of the pilot is expected to be released by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s-Coroner after the next of kin is notified.

“He was either having a medical condition or having a equipment malfunction. It didn’t look like he was in control of the vehicle. He was probably like a 100 feet up and then he was down to 50 and than back up to a 100 feet,” Coon said.

Santa Barbara County Fire Captain Dave Zaniboni said the operator was a 45 year old man, and a local resident.

Some people near the crash site tried to provide help. “He was still partially strapped inside of his aircraft and bystanders were trying to render aid and unfortunately he was pronounced dead,” Zaniboni said, adding there was a fuel spill but no fire.

The aircraft had taken off just five minutes before the crash from the nearby Santa Barbara Airport.

Sheriff’s Sergeant Greg Sorenson witnessed the aircraft go into a nose dive and immediately dispatched resources to the scene.

Santa Barbara City and County Fire units, along with AMR were called out and a Sheriff’s patrol unit arrived “in one minute” according to Sorenson. “When we first saw it we knew it was kind of odd, but figured it was close enough to the airport that maybe he was getting back but it appeared that he was out of control,” he said.

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