HESPERIA • Sebastian Joshua Grewal, 8, of Hesperia, is clinging to life at Loma Linda University Medical Center after he was critically injured late Monday morning in a plane crash at El Mirage Dry Lake.
“He wants to be a pilot when he grows up,” said Sebastian’s father, Josh Grewal, on Tuesday morning by phone. “He is fighting very hard to live as we speak. Looking at the wreckage of the plane, it’s a miracle that he is still alive.”
Josh Grewal, who is the owner of Menchie’s frozen yogurt shop in Hesperia, said doctors at Loma Linda were performing a second surgery to relieve pressure on Sebastian’s brain on Tuesday.
“Sebastian just turned eight in March, and he loves airplanes, cars, golfing and dirt bikes,” Grewal said. “The community can just keep him in their prayers.”
In a Monday night Facebook post, Josh Grewal said, “... a father's heart is reaching out to whoever is in charge. Please save my son.”
According to authorities, the pilot of the aircraft was off-duty Los Angeles Fire Department helicopter pilot and firefighter/paramedic Brian Lee, 47, who was pronounced dead Monday night at a Palmdale hospital after being airlifted there.
“My heart is also breaking for Brian (Lee), the pilot and a friend,” said Grewal, who lives in Hesperia. “He has two little twin girls.”
According to the LAFD, Lee was a 25-year veteran of the department and was not on duty when the plane experienced problems and crashed.
What exactly caused the plane to go down is unclear, but San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department Cpl. Randy Naquin said the plane did a nosedive after experiencing "some sort of mechanical issue."
Lee could not regain control of the small plane and it crashed in the northwest end of the lake bed.
Lee had taken the plane out to the dry lake to give Sebastian a plane ride during a camping trip.
Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, identified the single-engine plane as a Grumman AA-1A. Lee had taken off in the plane from the lakebed and planned to land there as well, Gregor said.
Gregor said the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board would investigate.
—Daily Press Staff Writer Anneli Fogt contributed to this report.
Rene Ray De La Cruz may be reached at 760-951-6227, RDeLaCruz@VVDailyPress.com or on Twitter@renegadereports.