On 10/23/00 at 2:40pm, the Mooney M-20J N40VF collided with mountainous terrain while maneuvering in the area of Wheaton Springs, California. The airplane was destroyed and the pilot and his passenger were killed. The flight originated from the Mesquite Airport, Mesquite, Nevada and was destined for Fallbrook, California. The flight was approximately 35 miles southwest of Las Vegas when the pilot advised Las Vegas departure control that he was in the clouds and was picking up ice. In his last radio transmission, the pilot stated that he was turning around en route to Jean, Nevada. Radar contact was lost at 2:38pm. When the aircraft did not arrive at Jean, or his final destination in Fallbrook, a search commenced. On 10/24/00, at 4:15pm, the aircraft was found on 70-degree slope in the Ivanpah Mountains near the California/Nevada border.