The aircraft left Abbotsford airport just before 4:30 p.m. PT on its way to Maple Ridge, but disappeared from control tower radar.
Abbotsford police said they were alerted to a possible problem when the aircraft started emitting a beacon signal shortly afterwards from somewhere in northwest Abbotsford.
Police, two search and rescue teams and a CFBComox Cormorant helicopter began searching for the aircraft, but were hampered by darkness, heavy rain and forested, rural terrain.
Just after 9 p.m. PT, searchers found the plane wreckage and the pilot in an area south of Highway 1 near Ross Road.
The circumstances of the crash and the identity of the deceased are not yet known.