AIRPLANE ACCIDENTS: SANTA CATALINA ISLAND

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July 25, 2018 Santa Catalina Island
Pilot Edward Martell, 71, of Fountain Valley; Christopher Burt, 30, of Anaheim; and Nathan Kim, 52, of Chino Hills survived the crash of a Piper PA-32 that skidded off the runway and plunged 600 feet down a hillside, coming to rest on sand.


Wayne Kratzer photographed this propeller and hub assembly on the link below at the Isthmus of Catalina in July of 2007. It may be from a Vought F4U-1D or a TBM-3 that crashed on the island in the 1940s.

http://www.aircraftwrecks.com/pic_archive/pic7.htm


  • 8/4/1996: Cessna 421C crash
4 serious; 2 minor


SANTA CATALINA ISLAND FATAL AIRPLANE ACCIDENTS:


DATE AIRCRAFT IDENTIFICATION FATALITIES CIRCUMSTANCES
1921 Curtiss Flying Boat USN 3 fatalities crashed into headland south of Avalon
January 19,
1923
F-5L-2 Seaplane A-3359 * W. H. Rohrback & Earl B. Brix 6 injured
November 2,
1933
Douglas Dolphin; Wilmington-Catalina Amphibian NC-12212 * Elliott McFarlane Moore
* George R. Baker
pilot Walter L. Seiler (42) survived
April 30,
1942
Lockheed P-38D Lightening * Walter F. Lichtenberger crash-landed at Buffalo Springs
October 17,
1944
Goodyear Blimp USN King III * Thomas H. Ralston
* Thomas R. Smith
* Wallace H. Marriage
* Edward T. Gorski
* Gordon F. Kaiser
* Preston L. Girard
6 survived
1944—
1945
Voght F4U USN pilot killed drowned in kelp
April 14,
1945
2 Navy pilots mid-air collision off Santa Catalina Island
September 26,
1945
* LeRoy Herr
* Edwin O. Hoell
jet crash at Santa Catalina Island
August 28,
1951
Grumman TBM-3E Robert H. Nash , Dale J. Stearns, Vern D. Cain. Charles T. CHaney 4 fatalities
September 23,
1954
F9F Panther Serial #123615 * Arthur Wagner From VMFT-10; crash caused by engine failure
July 25,
1956
ADS Skyraider marine lieutenant George V. Mikkelsen, pilot survived
October 12,
1958
Republic Seabee * Vincent R. Pardew
* Marcelle Crumley
* Edgar Hinton
crashed into a mountain
July 7,
1960
Howard H. Holder
Robert T. Woyaich
August 9,
1966
Cessna 150A N7160X 1 fatality Plane went into the ocean.
ACCIDENT REPORT
May 12,
1967
Piper PA-24 Frederick Phillippi
Sally Phillippi
Gilbert Renbarger
Arlene Renbarger
May 27,
1967
Grumman G-73 N2968 1 fatality 3 injured
ACCIDENT REPORT
September 12,
1967
Piper PA-24 N5638P 28-year-old pilot crashed on final approach
plane crash map
September 29,
1968
Grumman G-21A N325 1 fatality Catalina Seaplanes
ACCIDENT REPORT
January 10,
1969
McDonnell Douglas F-4J USN Serial #153906 2 fatalities Two men from VF-121 Squadron hit a ridge
February 18,
1969
Grumman E-1B USN Serial #147235 5 fatalities Men from VAW-111 Detachment 20 hit Silver Peak
March 21,
1972
Cessna 150H N50218 Roy W. Corrigan
Roger T. Powell
ACCIDENT REPORT
January 14,
1973
Piper PA-24 N5334P 1 fatality ACCIDENT REPORT
November 5,
1976
Beechcraft D45 N14406 1 fatality ACCIDENT REPORT
August 19,
1977
Grumman G-21 Goose N979SB 1 fatality Catalina Airlines
August 22,
1977
Beechcraft E18S N979SB Charles C. Clifford
Robert G. Graves
Air Fast Freight
CLIFFORD ACCIDENT REPORT
December 14,
1977
Bellanca 7ECA N5233X 1 fatality ACCIDENT REPORT
July 10,
1978
Georgia Grace Wyatt Catalina Airlines helicopter
April 14,
1979
Grumman G-21 N11CS Ruth Gardner Catalina Airlines aircraft was landing at Pebbly Beach when pilot attempted a go-around to avoid a boat wake. Aircraft stalled and crashed. Catalina Goose GARDNER ACCIDENT REPORT
September 17,
1979
Grumman N22932 John Gagnon Catalina Airlines. Elevator control cable broke during a take-off at Pebbly Beach and aircraft crashed. Three survived the crash: pilot, Vern McGee; Larry Gilman; O. T. Gilman
December 10,
1979
Piper PA-28 N8432C David Lee Riddle
Eddie Reyes
January 26,
1980
Piper PA-32 N2781M Mark Anthony Felice Roman Noah Felice, pilot survived; saw USO (unidentified submerged object)
February 22,
1981
Sikorsky S-62A N324Y Miguel Ortega & Lior Levy Catalina Airlines helicopter
May 28,
1981
Beechcraft 58 N140S 2 fatalities
June 11,
1982
Wing D-1 N8601M Alfred Asterman
+ 1 fatality
ASTERMAN ACCIDENT REPORT
January 3,
1983
Piper PA-28-161 N2239M Max Reinstein
James Henry Gibbons
+ 2 injured. ACCIDENT REPORT
January 30,
1984
Leerjet 24 N44GA * Kenneth Doyle Plante
* David Soderling
* Steven A. Berardi
* Heather Berardi
* Joe L. Denison
* Oralyn Ann Denison
The jet touched down 500 feet down the runway, overran the runway and went over a 90 feet bluff. It caught fire and all six aboard were killed.

ACCIDENT REPORT

May 20,
1984
Piper Lance N30298 2 fatalities 3 injured
June 18,
1984
FA-18 Hornet Serial #161966 James R. Brodengeyer fighter jet from VFA-131 crashed into the island above White's Landing. Deputy Jimmie Richard Henry was the Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff assigned to the Avalon Station. Deputy Henry's single exposure to toxic carcinogens he inhaled at the crash site while on duty, was the proximate cause of his untimely death on May 12, 1995. He was 49 years old.
January 18,
1985
McDonnell Douglas F-18 1 fatality
November 30,
1985
Bell 206-L Jet Ranger Hossein Habibi 11 survivors; Island Express helicopter collision
September 23,
1987
Grumman A-6E Intruder 155674 Cmdr. Lloyd D. Sledge VA-52, US Navy; navigator survived
SLEDGE ACCIDENT REPORT
July 3,
1990
Cessna 172N N2810E Robert David Harder, Jr. (15) Robert David Harder, pilot survived
Jonathan Benzing (33) survived
May 2,
1992
Beechcraft A-36 N583T 1 fatality
May 27,
1992
Beechcraft S-35 N5874S 2 fatalities ACCIDENT REPORT
February 15,
1993
Beechcraft E-33 N7882R 1 fatality Pilot committed suicide. A note was found in his car at Long Beach Airport the next day. ACCIDENT REPORT
April 5,
1994
Cessna 152 N93508 Jeffrey Noel Matson ACCIDENT REPORT
February 11,
1997
Piper PA-28-161 N8436X Ronald Trenton ACCIDENT REPORT
May 7,
1998
Cessna 172N N6514E Darin Cameron
Audrey Nizich
Peter Nizich
Jennifer Ortega
ACCIDENT REPORT
September 30,
1998
Cessna 152 N49770 Daniel Welker
November 21,
1999
Aerostar 600 N97CC 1 fatality
December 24,
2003
Piper PA-34-200T N3747U Scott Hegger
Francine Gaume
Justine Gaume
Lucas Gaume
Patrice Duclos
HEGGER ACCIDENT REPORT
August 31,
2005
Avions Robin R N216RN Arnaud Brierre student survived by parachuting out at 2,000 feet
Award to rescuers
September 7,
2005
Cessna 172RG N9636B 2 fatalities ACCIDENT REPORT
May 24,
2008
Aerospatiale Helo N67GE Emeric Maillet
John Terry
Tania Hurd
MAILLET ACCIDENT REPORT
October 20,
2008
Mooney M20J N201EN Dr. Charles Cowan
Jeanien Cowan
Patricia Carmichael
Stanley Carmichael survived
COWAN ACCIDENT REPORT
February 5,
2009
Beechcraft A-36 N66819 Mark Hogland
Amy Marie Judd
Marshall Goldberg
HOGLAND ACCIDENT REPORT
July 1,
2010
Cessna 182P N222CG Jeffrey Loeffler pilot had a heart attack
LOEFFLER ACCIDENT REPORT
May 28, 2016 Cessna 172 N739ZE Edmond Haronian
Jason Glazier
Plane disappeared after taking off from Airport-in-the-Sky.
June 17, 2019 Robinson R44 Clipper helicopter N7187D Philiip Su Chu Yang
Helicopter out of Torrance Airport crashed on the northwest end.
YANG CCIDENT REPORT



In the News~

February 19, 1937 [Santa Cruz Evening News]: “Navy Fliers Hurt in Island Crash. Avalon, Catalina Island, Cal., Feb. 19—D. R. Towles, aviation machinists mate, first class, was seriously injured, and Lieut. Wallace C. Short, junior grade, slightly hurt when their fighting seaplane crashed near the shore of the isthmus of Catalina today. The plane, attached to the heavy cruiser Chicago, which had been engaged this week in tactical exercises between here and San Clemente Island, was headed over the isthmus for a landing in Catalina harbor.”


April 15, 1945 [LBI]: “2 Navy fliers die in crash off Catalina. Two naval fighter pilots were officially reported missing by the navy yesterday, following the mid-air collision of two fighter planes off Catalina on Friday. ACcording to the public relations office of the naval operating base, the ships were on routine maneuvers, and were flying from a Southern California naval station. The pilots, who are listed as missing because their bodies have not yet been recovered, were Lt. Benjamin Frankel, whose mother, Mrs. Fannie Frankel, lives in Cudahy, Wis. and Ens. Willard James Teitz, whose mother, Mrs. Pearl May Teitz, residing in Chipperwa Falls, Wis. In both cases the next of kin has been notified. An intensive search of the area is being carried on with small craft and observation planes, the navy explains.”


July 30, 1949 [Long Beach Press Telegram]: “Avalon Bay Crash Severs Fliers Legs. Crash of an amphibian plane at the mouth of Avalon Harbor, Catalina Island, late this morning caused the pilot and his passenger to lose their legs, island authorities reported. In serious condition in Avalon Hospital are Jack Dowdle, about 40, pilot, and Frederick Kelly, 43, both of San Diego. It was not indicated whether they will be returned to the mainland. The Avalon harbor master said the plane plunged into the water and the men were rescued by the crew of a water taxi just before the plane sank. The plane was reported to be operated by Swift Air Service, San Diego.”


Swift Aero Service


July 31, 1949 [LBI]: “Prop severs legs from 2 in crash. A spectacular airplane crash in Avalon Bay Saturday afternoon caused whirling propeller blades to knife off the legs of the plane's two occupants. The victims were San Diego fliers Jack Dowdle, 38 and Frederick J. Kelly, 43. Thousands of horrified vacationists saw the tragedy. The single-engine amphibian spun on its side at takeoff when it skidded in the wake of a passing speedboat. The plane engine, mounted above and behind the occupants at center wing, slid forward and toppled into the cockpit, the propeller striking the men's legs. Dowdle is the owner of the Swift Aero Service, operator of seaplanes between San Diego and Catalina Island. More than 1000 persons went to Avalon Hospital to volunteer blood transfusions for the men.”


July 26, 1956 [LBI]: “Scout saves flier from sea; officer still missing in crash. After 16 hours of drifting in the cold waters of Catalina Island, a Marine Corps pilot was rescued Wednesday by a Sea Scout ship. The pilot, M. Sgt. George V. Mikkelsen, 1315 S. Doreen Way, Santa Ana, had been missing since he rode his disabled ADS Skyraider into the sea Tuesday afternoon. Still missing is Mikkelsen's passenger, a Marine lieutenant who accompanied him on a classified mission out of El Toro Marine Crops Air Station near Santa Ana. His name was not released. Search for the passenger was called off at nightfall Wednesday, the Coast Guard announced. Participating in the search were five Marine helicopters, three Coast Guard surface vessels and a Coast Guard aircraft. The lieutenant is believed to have parachuted from the plane seconds before it plunged into the ocean. Sgt. Mikkelsen was lifted from the water by Sea Scouts aboard the Anaheim Scout boat Rotaleo after one of the Scouts, 16-year-old Jim Nellesen, dived into the water to aid him. Nellesen, 11334 E. Romneya, Anaheim, spotted the pilot bobbing in the sea at 7:35 a.m. Wednesday. "The pilot was nearly unconscious and as blue as my Levis," reported Tom L. Hoag, Jr., 38, of 817 W. Sycamore, Anaheim, the Rotelo's skipper. Aboard the Rotelo, a 45-foot vessel, were 13 Scouts, Hoag and two other adults. The boat was heading to Catalina Island from the Santa Barbara Islands on a summer cruise. It's due to return to Newport Beach Saturday. After picking up the pilot, the vessel sailed to Emerald Bay near the Catalina Isthmus. A Marine amphibian met the boat there and flew Mikkelsen to the El Toro dispensary. The 192-pound sergeant, a flier for 15 years, suffered severe shock but otherwise appeared uninjured. In is hospital bed at El Toro he said he lost his life raft packet when he struck the water. He dived for it but it sank beyond his grasp. "I hated to see that thing disappear," he remarked, smiling weakly. He told of sending up two flares and of the long hours during which he alternately swam, floated exhaustedly in his life preserver, prayed, slept or lapsed into unconsciousness. "When I was napping," he said, "a big wave would slap me and wake me up." His first words when pulled from the water were "How's the little lieutenant?" He was referring to the second lieutenant who accompanied him on the ordnance evaluation mission. Lt. Col. D. L. Cummings, commanding officer of the Headquarters and Maintenance Squadron 15, said Mikkelsen earlier had told him of instructing his fellow Marine. "Get the switch off, Mike." The sergeant said that when his plane developed trouble he ordered his passenger to bail out. Mikkelsen stayed with the plane and rode it down into the ocean. As Sgt. Mikkelsen drifted in the chilling waters, he thought of "my little boy — the shape of his head." He explained that his 4-year-old son, Mike, fell several days ago and suffered a head gash. The wound had started to heal but still looks angry, he said. Sgt Mikkelsen said he didn't worry about rescue, about sharks or about dying. "No I didn't want to think about any of those things — so I didn't," he said. "Sharks?" Once I felt something on my leg but I didn't want to even think about what it was," he added. His wife, Dorothy Lee, visited him in the hospital Wednesday. The couple also have a daughter, Melanie, 5. Asked if he remembered the Sea Scouts who rescued him, Sgt. Mikkelsen replied: "Everything about that is real vague. But I want to see them all. They're great — all time boys." The sergeant indicated the lieutenant may not have had time to parachute to safety. He said he "felt the lieutenant" next to him but did not see him during the hectic moments of departing from the crippled fighter bomber. The plane, attached to the 3rd Marine Wing, took off from El Toro at 3:48 p.m. Tuesday. Search for the missing craft was ordered at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Planes Tuesday night lighted the area with flares in an attempt to locate the victims. There has been no sign of the plane wreckage so far.”


Sept. 18, 1979 [LAT]: “1 Dies, 3 Survive in Ocean Plane Crash. A husky construction worker dragged his 350-pound father and the unconscious and seriously injured pilot out of a Catalina Airlines amphibian Monday evening after it plunged upside down into the ocean off Santa Catalina Island. But Larry Gilman, 27, was unable to reach the third passenger, who went down with the twin-engine Grumman Goose in 250 feet of water 200 feet off Pebbly Beach, a mile east of Avalon. Gilman and his father, O.T. Gilman, 52, administered first aid to the pilot, Vern McGee, 54, on a wing of the amphibian, which broke nearly in half on impact, until all three were rescued by a passing motor yacht just before the plane sank. The plane crashed at 5:20 p.m. as it was taking off for a flight to San Pedro. It was the second fatal crash of the carrier's Grumman Goose planes in five months. The survivors were taken by the 22 foot motor yacht Avalon, then transferred to Avalon Community Hospital. McGee was given emergency treatment there before being flown by Coast Guard helicopter to the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance. McGee, who lives in Lakewood, suffered head injuries, cuts and possible chest injuries. The Gilmans both refused physical examinations to determine if they have been injured. However, later Monday night, a deputy sheriff located both father and son at an Avalon bar and took them to the Avalon hospital for checkups. Both appeared to be in good condition. Details of the crash were furnished by deputy sheriffs, Posh Gardiner, traffic controller for the Avalon Harbor Patrol, and Mrs. Sandy Felix, sister of Larry Gilman, who had talked to her father and brother before they were taken to the hospital. "Larry dragged dad out of the plane onto the wing, then went back for the pilot, who was unconscious and badly cut up. Dad and Larry held the pilot on the wing and did what they could for him until they were rescued." Gardiner said that by the time the Harbor Patrol boat Baywatch had arrived on the scene, all the survivors were aboard the private motor yacht and that the Gilmans were still aiding the pilot. Divers went down to the wreckage but could not find the third passenger, a 33 year old man whose identity was not made public, Gardiner said. Mrs. Felix said that her father and brother had told her that they boarded the plane after the other passenger had gone aboard and did not know just where he was seated in the amphibian. She added that her father also is employed as a construction worker and that he and his son also manage the Bay View Hotel in Avalon. Authorities said the cause of the crash could not be determined immediately. The FAA and other agencies will conduct an investigation. Several eyewitnesses told deputy sheriffs that the plane appeared to have lost power on take-off. Last April, another Catalina Airlines Grumman Goose crashed while attempting to land in Avalon Harbor. An 81-year-old woman passenger was killed and eight other passengers and the pilot were injured. The plane sank in 100 feet of water, taking the elderly woman down with it. In June, 1977, the FAA forced the carrier to suspend its amphibian flights on the grounds that three of the planes had been found to be "unairworthy." The suspension was lifted after the planes, reported to have been damaged by saltwater corrosion, were repaired. During the suspension, the carrier continued service between the island and the mainland with large Sikorsky helicopters.


September 18, 1979, Santa Catalina Island


May 28, 1992 [LAT]: “Two people died Wednesday when a private plane crashed near the airport on Catalina Island, a sheriff’s deputy said. The plane went down on a wooded and brushy hillside two miles west of Airport-in-the-Sky about 3:15 P.M., said an airport official. The plane lost power after takeoff, said sheriff’s Deputy Hal Grant.”


May 29, 1992 [NYT]: “A man and a woman were killed when their small plane crashed on takeoff from the airport on Catalina Island. The plane went down on a wooded and brushy hillside two miles west of Airport-in-the-Sky about 3:15 P.M., an airport official said.”


November 22, 1999 [TI/Avalon]: “A twin-engine Piper aircraft crashed into the Pacific Ocean near Catalina Island today, killing at least one man. The six-seat, 1974 Piper Aerostar 600A took off from Fullerton Airport in Orange County at 9:15 A.M. today and disappeared from radar an hour later, said Kirsto Dunn, a Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman in Seattle. Officials did not know how many people were aboard because the pilot did not file a flight plan, Ms. Dunn said. The airplane had been flying at about 5,500 feet on training maneuvers, she said. The Coast Guard was searching about 14 miles northeast of the island resort, which is about 30 miles off the Southern California coast, and had recovered some debris from the plane. One man’s body was taken to a Coast Guard base in Los Angeles, the agency said. No other information about the man was available.”


November 3, 2001 [NTSB]: “Piper PA-32-260, registration: N3516W; 3 pax uninjured. On November 3, 2001, at 1645 hours Pacific standard time, a Piper PA-32-260, N3516W, sustained a loss of engine power during departure climb and ditched into the Pacific ocean, about 4 miles south of Catalina Island, Avalon, California. The airplane was substantially damaged. The private rated pilot and two passengers were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight, operating under 14 CFR Part 91, and no flight plan was filed. The originating flight departed from runway 22, and was destined for Carlsbad, California. The pilot reported that after takeoff the engine began making a "rattling" noise with a loss of engine power. He was unable to return to the runway and landed in the ocean. The Catalina Island airport manager stated that a pilot reported hearing the accident airplane prior to departure and that the engine sounded "terrible or strange" to him.”


Piper PA-32-260 in 120 feet of water, Santa Catalina Island
Piper , Santa Catalina Island














August 9, 2002 [TI/Avalon]: “The Catalina Island Airport in the Sky was the scene of a tragic crash of an incoming plane last Friday afternoon. Fog contributed to the pilot’s difficulty in putting his Beechcraft Baron twin engine plane down on the runway. According to Station Commander Gary Olson, the pilot was approaching the airport from the ocean side, trying for runway 44, at high speed. He misjudged the length of the runway, was unable to stop before plunging off into the hillside brush, about 100 yards from the end of the runway. The plane disintegrated on impact, burst into flames, starting a brush fire in the surrounding area. Both the pilot and his female passenger were killed instantly. The couple were coming from Cave Creek, Arizona, outside Scottsdale, to meet up with a brother, also flying in from Concord. The brother landed successfully shortly before the ill-fated Beechcraft. The brush fire burned about one quarter acre before it was extinguished by both county and city fire personnel, Search & Rescue, both the east and west teams, Sheriff’s deputies from both Avalon and the Isthmus, plus volunteer firemen from Avalon. The crash occurred at 2:15 P.M. Friday afternoon. By 5:30 P.M. a helicopter carrying the coroner and crash investigation representatives had arrived on the scene. The bodies were retrieved and removed to the mainland by 9:30 P.M. The pilot was a 54 year old man, accompanied by his longtime companion, a 48 year old woman. This was the second airplane crash with fatalities, and brush fire resulting from it in several years. The preceding crash was responsible for causing the fire at Goat Harbor.”


December 25, 2003 [CT]: “Avalon, California—A twin-engine plane crashed into a mountain on Santa Catalina Island in poor weather Wednesday, killing all five people aboard, authorities said. Three adults and two children were killed, said Brendon Peart, supervising dispatcher for the Los Angeles County Fire Department. The victims were not immediately identified.”



October 3, 2010 [Examiner.com]: “A 1956 Cessna 310 twin engine light aircraft (N310XX) registered to Sabovich and Sons of Arroyo Grande, California crashed shortly after takeoff, about one-half mile southeast of Catalina Airport (CIB), also known as the Airport in the Sky, on Sunday afternoon, October 4 at 3:40 p.m. PDT. The three persons on board were injured from the accident and resulting fire, which also caused a three acre brush fire that was quickly extinguished by first responders. Those injured, who are yet to be identified, were taken to Torrance Memorial Medical Center in the southwestern region of Los Angeles County. Two of the victims suffered critical burn injuries, and the third sustained moderate burn injuries from the accident. The 54-year-old pilot had indicated that his left engine had failed shortly after takeoff. The aircraft had earlier arrived from John Wayne Airport (SNA) in Santa Ana, CA to pick up two passengers. According to Captain Mike Parker of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, all three were transported by a sheriff's rescue helicopter for medical treatment. The passengers were identified as a 50-year-old man and 48-year-old woman, all in stable condition and expected to survive. FAA spokesperson Ian Gregor, confirmed the time of the crash, whose cause is under investigation. Santa Catalina Island, commonly called Catalina, was originally owned by the William Wrigley, Jr., the chewing gum magnate, and his family. It is located 22 miles south by southwest of Los Angeles in the Pacific Ocean. Catalina Airport is located six miles northwest of the Avalon central business district, at an elevation of 1,602 feet. The single runway, which dips midway, is 3,000 feet long and 60 feet wide. This journalist has flown into Catalina Airport as a passenger on similar twin engine aircraft. The airport lies at the island's highest point, with roads leading to it climbing steeply, with many switchbacks. It was originally called Buffalo Springs Airport when it opened in the late 1930s. United Airlines originally provided commercial service with DC-3 equipment. The island remains a popular tourist destination for observing Bald Eagles, about 150 American Bison, the Catalina Orangetip Butterfly, over 400 species of plants, and surrounding waters rich in marine life. It was originally discovered by the Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, sailing under Spanish flag, on October 7, 1542.”


Csssna 182, Santa Catalina Island, 2010


November 3, 2013 [Press Telegtam]: “Three escape with minor injuries from Catalina plane crash Sunday afternoon. CATALINA ISLAND. Three passengers escaped with minor injuries from a light plane crash on Catalina Island today, according to Capt. Douglas Fetteroll, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Avalon Station. The passengers were transported to area hospitals, he said. Their identities have not yet been released. County fire supervisor Miguel Orenelas said a light plane had come off a runway at the Catalina Airport. It was not known if the plane was landing or taking off. Catalina Airport In The Sky officials said the crash is still being investigated and declined to comment Sunday evening. The incident was reported at 3.07 p.m. Airport In The Sky is a small airport used mostly by general aviation aircraft. It sits atop on a plateau on a 1,600-foot-high mountain, about 10 miles from the only city in the Channel Islands, Avalon.”


January 5, 2014 [nbclosangeles]: “Four miles from Catalina Island, Michael Anthony Naffziger was on a boat with his brother and his brother’s wife when they spotted a small two-seat plane above them with engine problems. Naffziger heard no engine noise then saw the plane plunge into the ocean. "I was just thinking, ‘We’re going to help these people. We’re going to help these people at any cost,’” he said. “Thank God we were there. It was divine intervention.” The boaters pulled the pilot and his passenger out of the water after they were seen clinging to the plane as it floated in the chilly waters. The pilot, David Prizio, who has 40 years experience flying, only suffered a scratch on his face and a broken finger. His passenger was not hurt. They were on their way to Avalon from Chino when the unthinkable happened. “We’re just flying along, cruising towards Catalina," he said. "Things were peachy and the engine just stopped, kind of surged a little bit, then just stopped for good.” Prizio had no other choice but to ditch the plane in the ocean. “Obviously the situation was serious,” he said. “I wouldn't say I freaking out or panicking or anything.” The tail hit the water, the wheels caught and the plane flipped. It went into the air before coming back down. That’s when the boaters, in the right place at the right time, were able to help pull them out of the water and summon authorities. “I’m sure the lord had a hand in this,” Prizio said.”

January 5, 2014


October 18, 2015 [LAT]: “AVALON — A single-engine Cessna 172 airplane missed the runway while landing at the Catalina Island Airport in the Sky at 4:08 p.m. on Thursday, October1, and fell onto the roadway below. Witnesses said the three people who were in the airplane were able to leave the wreckage on their own. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s and Fire departments were summoned to the scene. The Catalina Island Conservancy operates the Airport in the Sky, and its airport staff and rangers assisted the pilot and two passengers. “We thank our staff for their quick response, and our thoughts are with those who were in the aircraft,” said Tony Budrovich, Conservancy chief operating officer.”


October 17, 2015, Santa Catalina Island


November 29, 2015 [LAT]: “AVALON, CATALINA ISLAND - A small single-engine private aircraft crashed Sunday afternoon, November 29th, while attempting to landat Catalina Island’s Airport In The Sky. The incident occurred around noon. According to airport personnel, the plane ran off the end of the runwayand ended up upside down on the adjacent hillside. Of the four passengers on board, threewere transported to Catalina Island Medical Center, with one reporting back and neck pain, and two reported as having only minor injuries. The fourth passenger was not injured. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s and Fire departments, City of Avalon Fire Department and Catalina Island Conservancy Rangers all responded to the scene. The Catalina Island Conservancy operates the airport.“We would like to thank all the various agencies who responded to yesterday’s incident and our thoughts to the people in the aircraft,” said Tony Budrovich, chief operating officer for the Catalina Island Conservancy. For additional information, please contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s and Fire departments.”


November 29, 2015, Santa Catalina Island