Pilot dies in small plane crash near Bellingham airport

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BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) Officials say a pilot is dead after a small plane headed to Bellingham for maintenance crashed in the Chuckanut Mountains in northern Washington.

The aircraft departed from Paine Field in Snohomish County and crashed in an area near the Bellingham International Airport Monday night.

The cause of crash is unknown.

A U.S. Customs and Border Patrol helicopter found the wreckage using a signal from the plane's last known location and direction of travel.

Whatcom County sheriff's office says it believes only the pilot was on board the plane at the time of the crash, but it is searching the area to make sure no one else was involved.

The pilot's identity is being withheld until relatives are notified.

The National Transportation Board will investigate the crash.