A lifelong Danville resident was killed in a plane crash Tuesday morning, according to the victim's friend. Matthew Moody, 26, worked for Frontline Energy Services and was surveying gas pipes for PG&E when his plane crashed in Hamlin Canyon, about six miles southwest of Paradise, Calif. at 11:30 a.m.
Moody, 26, was the passenger in an AA Aerial Surveillance and Frontine Energy scout plane contracted to do routine patrol on a natural gas transmission pipeline. Kajal Gheewala, a friend of Moody's, said the plane had engine failure. The official cause is unknown.
"(Moody) had lived in Contra Costa County most of his life except a few years in Colorado. He loved being outdoors -- especially hiking and rock climbing in Yosemite. He was very fearless and talented and loved to cook," said Gheewala. "He also was very interested in science and astronomy."
The San Ramon Valley High graduate and the pilot have yet to be officially identified. According to the Chico Enterprise Record, the plane was a 1966 Champion, fixed-wing, single-engine two-seater purchased in 2012 and registered to Frederick Lewis, co-owner of AA Aerial Surveillance at the Nut Tree.
The plane was fully engulfed in flames when officials arrived on scene, said Miranda McAffe, Butte County Sheriff media liaison. The bodies were badly burned and the plane destroyed.
A resulting vegetation fire burned up 21 acres and closed nearby Neal Road, according to reports. Six engines, four water trucks, a bulldozer, four hand crews, two air tankers, a helicopter and a spotter plane fought the blaze. The fire did not threaten nearby homes.
A memorial service for Matthew Moody will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 19 at St. Joan of Arc Church (2601 San Ramon Valley Blvd., San Ramon). In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Moody's name to the Yosemite Conservancy.
"Everyone who knew him thought of him as one of the nicest and most genuine people they knew," Gheewala said.
Moody is survived by his mother, father, sister, brother and girlfriend.