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2 San Diego Men Identified as Plane Crash Victims in Santa Barbara County Backcountry

Pilot David Martz, 58, and passenger Greg Bacino, 56, were killed when their Cessna 182 went down in Los Padres National Forest

Santa Barbara County Search & Rescue Team members work to stablize the wreckage of a small plane that crashed Thursday night in the Santa Barbara backcountry. Two San Diego men died in the crash.
Santa Barbara County Search & Rescue Team members work to stablize the wreckage of a small plane that crashed Thursday night in the Santa Barbara backcountry. Two San Diego men died in the crash. (Santa Barbara County Search & Rescue Team photo)

Authorities have released the names of two men who were killed last week when their small plane crashed in the rugged backcountry at the eastern edge of Santa Barbara County.

The pilot, David Keith Martz, 58, and his passenger, 56-year-old Birger Greg Bacino, both of San Diego, died in the crash of the Cessna 182, which went down in the Don Victor Valley area south of New Cuyama, west of Highway 33, Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said Saturday.

Emergency crews responded at about 10:40 p.m. Thursday following a report that the plane had crashed after reporting engine trouble.

A Ventura County helicopter located the aircraft’s wreckage about 4:30 a.m. Friday, just north of Jameson Lake in Los Padres National Forest, Hoover said.

She said Martz, a commercial pilot, had been hired by Bacino to fly him to a business meeting in San Luis Obispo. They were en route back to McClellan-Palomar Airport in Oceanside.

“The two were flying home from the San Luis Obispo Airport at approximately 9 p.m. in a rented Cessna from the San Diego area when it appears they had engine trouble and crashed,” Hoover said.

(Some media reports indicated the flight had originated in Lompoc, but Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor confirmed Saturday night that it had taken off from San Luis Obispo.)

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Martz attained notoriety in 2009 when the National Transportation Safety Board revoked his helicopter pilot’s license after a video surfaced showing him receiving oral sex from a porn actress while flying over San Diego.

Reports indicate he regained his license a year later.

Martz’s LinkedIn profile described him as a real estate investor, helicopter pilot, entertainer and musician.

Bacino is a former attorney. In 2010, he pleaded no contest to felony charges related to worker’s compensation fraud. In 2009, he declared bankruptcy as a real estate investor.

The crash is under investigation by the NTSB and the FAA.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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