The body of a Cessna 182 pilot who went down off the coast of Isla Vista was pulled out of deep water on October 2. Rescue and recovery teams had been searching for Deborah Nicholson of Tahoe City and the airplane in waters between 180 and 280 feet of depth. Divers from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department were called in as they specialize in deep-water searches. A witness reported seeing the small airplane crash into the ocean around 7 a.m. on September 27 about two miles out from the Santa Barbara Municipal Airport.
The 61-year-old Nicholson was an estate-planning attorney in the Lake Tahoe area and was the mother of two sons. One of them had just started college, local media reported; those reports spelled her first name “Debra.” She was an experienced, instrument-rated pilot, a colleague said, and based at the Truckee Tahoe Airport.
The National Transportation and Safety Board is investigating the downed aircraft. A preliminary report could come out in a week or two, but an agency spokesperson said the final report could take up to two years to determine the cause of the crash.