BAKER, Calif. (AP) _ A small plane crashed in the California desert, killing at least five people, a sheriff's spokesman said Friday.

The wreckage was found Thursday about 30 miles from the Nevada border, San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department spokesman Chip Patterson said.

Radar indicated the nine-passenger Cessna 421 Golden Eagle plane lost altitude on a flight from Bullhead City, Ariz., to the Van Nuys airport in Los Angeles, about 100 miles southwest of the crash site, Patterson said.

The pilot was believed to be an 89-year-old real estate agent from Burbank, Sgt. Jake Jecusco said.

Identities were being withheld until relatives could be notified. Investigators were trying to determine if more than five people were aboard, Patterson said.

Recovery efforts were underway Friday. Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board were at the scene.