Authorities found a debris field in the Pacific Ocean with markings consistent with the type of plane reported missing off the Southern California coast on Sunday. The condition of the pilot was not immediately known.

A single-engine Cessna 182 Skylane crashed near Santa Barbara around 7:55 a.m., according to Emma Duncan, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson.

Mike Eliason, a public information officer for Santa Barbara County Fire, said a witness reported seeing the plane descend rapidly after taking off from Santa Barbara Airport.

Officials with Santa Barbara County Fire, the U.S. Coast Guard, and Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol searched the area near Goleta Beach with boats and helicopters.

Hours later, a debris field was found about 2 miles off Isla Vista in waters about 200 feet deep. A Los Angeles County special dive team has been requested, Eliason said.

The FAA said preliminary information showed there had been only one person on board the plane. Eliason said there are conflicting reports and authorities are trying to determine if there were one or two people on board.

No identifying information has been released.

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate. The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation and will determine the probable cause of the accident.

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By Richard Moran

Richard Moran loves to write about sports with the Golden State Online. Before that, he worked as a senior writer at ESPN. Richard grew up in San Diego and graduated from the University of San Diego in 2004, after which he worked as an editor for five years.

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