» Macha, Gary P. Aircraft Wrecks in the Mountains and Deserts of California 1909-1996. San Clemente: Info Net Publishing, 1997)
AIRPLANE ACCIDENTS — ANACAPA ISLAND:
• 1945: Grumman F4F Avenger crashed near Anacapa Island during World War II. The plane wreck lies north of the gap between East and Middle islands in about 120 feet of water.
• October 20, 1983: Cessna 150M (N714PR). Pilot made a low pass over a fishing boat before entering the water near Anacapa Island. Pilot was killed.
• January 5, 1989: Cessna 172M (N61587) crashed on West Anacapa Island killing pilot, John F. Thompson. The wreck was not located until January 24, after which it was removed from the island.
• January 31, 2000: Alaska Air flight 261, a McDonnell Douglas MD-83 (N963AS) enroute to San Francsico from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, crashed into the Pacific Ocean 2.7 miles north of Anacapa Island. Two pilots, 3 cabin crewmembers and 83 passengers were killed. Catastrophic mechanical failure was the cause of the crash.
AIRPLANE ACCIDENTS — SAN CLEMENTE ISLAND:
• July 30, 1935: a Northrop fighter plane, constructed for the U.S. Army as one of the world’s fastest and most formidable pursuit planes, went missing near San Clemente Island. Lieutenant Arthur H. Skaer, Jr. was pilot.
• June 6, 1941: two Navy planes attached to the cruiser U.S.S. Chester, collided midair off San Clemente Island. Three people were killed, and a fourth survived with severe burns.
• April 22, 1943: Ensign John A. Titcomb, 23, U.S.N.R. of Nogales, Arizona, was killed when his plane crashed on San Clemente Island.
• September 25, 1945: two Navy patrol bombers collided near San Clemente Island, one plane exploding 200 feet above a target range. Six occupants of the second plane survived when the plane made a water landing near Seal Rocks at the east end of Santa Catalina Island.
• June 4, 1949: two planes of a squadron piloted by Naval Reserve fliers had a mid-air collision near San Clemente Island. One plane was able to make a landing at the Los Alamitos airstrip; the other fell to the ocean three miles south of San Clemente Island.
• June 5, 1952: a Boeing 247-D owned by the Scott Flying Service of Long Beach, piloted by Robert A. Long, ran out of fuel after departing San Clemente Island. The plane landed in the water near shore and both occupants survived.
• ADD 1955 crash into USS HOPEWELL!
• November 18, 1966: four men were killed when their Navy helicopter crashed west of San Clemente Island. Three men were rescued.
• June 15, 1978: pilot Lt. Comdr. Scott Stallings, 35, of Solana Beach, and Lt. (j.g.) Steven S. Dalley, 27, of San Diego were killed when their Miramar-based F-14 Tomcat jet crashed at sea Thursday near San Clemente Island.
August 3, 1935 [LAT]: “False lead marks lost plane hunt. Wreck that of another craft. Search for the Army’s missing mystery plane in which Lieutenant Arthur H. Skaer, Jr., disappeared last Tuesday caused some excitement yesterday when a mass of aircraft wreckage was sighted in a rugged arroyo on San Clemente Island, but the wreck proved to be that of another plane. The wreck, which was observed from the air by a U.S. Coast Guard plane, is that is a tin biplane that crashed there last November with three men. Identification of the wreck was established through investigation by The Times. It was a small blue and silver biplane powered with an OX-5 motor owned by Wilton Probert , 26 years of age, of Hollywood. With Probert, on a goat-hunting expedition, were Sparks E. Bonnett, 28 of 1648 Stearns Drive, and Vernon Morse, 29, of 336 North Alta Vista Avenue. All three men were injured when the ship crashed. They were rescued by Coast Guardsmen and later returned to the island, stripping the wrecked craft of its instruments…”
August 3, 1935 [LAT]: “False lead marks lost plane hunt. Wreck that of another craft… Charles Swedeborg, a fisherman at Mosquito Harbor, on San Clemente Island, also had advised the Coast Guard the wreck is an old one…”
January 31, 1948 [LAT]: “Two 25-year-old ensigns were killed when their Navy (SNJ) trainer crashed in the surf at San Clemente Island, it was announced by Los Alamitos Naval Air Station, where the reserevists took off on a temporary duty flight. They were identified as Arthur F. Berger, Jr., pilot, of San Diego, and Emery Papp of Imperial Beach. Berger leaves his mother, and Papp his widow and one son. The bodies of the men were recovered after the ship smashed into the water.”
June 6, 1952 [LAT]: “Two rescued from plane down in sea. Two Long Beach men were rescued from the ocean yesterday after their twin-engined amphibian plane was forced to land off Seal Beach due to a fuel line leak. The plane was being flown from San Clemente Island to Long Beach Municipal Airport by Robert A. Long of 5439 Ebell Street, with Robert E. Cook as his copilot, the Coast Guard reported. Before setting the craft down between Seal Beach and Surfside, Long radioed the field that they were out of gas. After landing in the water, Long and Cook crawled out on the wing and were spotted by the fishing boat Sunny. The plane was a Boeing 247-D owned by the Scott Flying Service of Long Beach, which has a government contract to operate between the mainland and San Clemente Island. The plane was swamped and soon sank in shallow water, but its owners believe it can be salvaged. Neither of the men was hurt.”
November 12, 1955 [LAT]: “San Diego, November 11. Five men were killed today when a naval attack bomber apparently on a simulated bombing run, dove into the destroyer USS Hopewell during joint United States-Canadian maneuvers. Five sailors were injured. The destroyer limped to port with the five bodies aboard after two other destroyers helped it put out fires started by the crash and explosion. The Navy identified the three men killed aboard the plane as Lt. Comdr. M.S. Essary, 40, pilot, of Coronado, Cal.; radarman R. S. Stewart, Punxsutawney, Pa., and B. M. Phillips, Jamaica, N. Y. Identity of the two destroyer crewmen killed was withheld pending notification of next of kin. Comdr. Mark M. Grandor, skipper of the Hopewell, said the plane struck the vessel between its two stacks on the starboard side. The plane’s engine came out on the port side. It disabled one of the ship’s engines. Pieces of the aircraft pierced down two decks…”
November 18, 1966 [LAT]: “The bodies of two men were recovered from the sea west of San Clemente Island after a Navy helicopter crashed. Two others were missing and three were rescued. One of those killed, the pilot, was identified as Comdr. William F. Todd, 37, of Chula Vista.”
June 18, 1978 [LAT]: “The Navy has recovered the body of a radar intercept officer whose Miramar-based F-14 Tomcat jet crashed at sea Thursday near San Clemente Island. The body of Lt. (j.g.) Steven S. Dalley, 27, of San Diego was found Friday evening east of San Clemente Island by Navy search and rescue crews. The search for pilot, Lt. Comdr. Scott Stallings, 35, of Solana Beach, is to resume this morning, a Navy spokeswoman said. The wreckage of the fighter plane was discovered Friday and a salvage attempt will be made, the spokeswoman said.”
September 14, 1981 [LAT]: “The body of a suspected marijuana smuggler was recovered Sunday from San Clemente Island where he had crashed his twin Beechcraft into a hillside, scattering 900 pounds of marijuana ‘all over the place,’ customs officials reported. Federal officials suspect that the plane crashed last February when the pilot, who was already known to law enforcement authorities, was returning from Mexico with a full cargo. ‘We can only suppose that he was off on his navigation and thought that he was still over water,’ said Pete Grootendorst, U.S. Customs air support branch chief. ‘He hit the mountain at about 200 feet elevation.’ The remains of the crash were discovered Friday by a Navy helicopter pilot who was flying over the section of San Clemente Island used by the Navy for target practice. The discovery of the crash has triggered investigations by a host of government agencies, including U.S. Customs, the National Transportation Safety Board, the Navy, which has a base on the island, the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration and the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office. Authorities would not identify the victim, but Grootendorst said that both the man and his airplane had been suspected of smuggling marijuana across the border…”
AIRPLANE ACCIDENTS — SAN MIGUEL ISLAND:
• July 5, 1943: Consolidated B-24E (#42-7180) U.S.A.A. F. crashed on Green Mountain. Twelve men died in the crash. The site was not located until March 19, 1944. The bomber had been dispatched to find a missing B-24 that was later found 10 miles inland from Santa Barbara. All personnel were members of the 2nd Air Force, 34th Bomb Group, 7th Bomb Squadron stationed at Salinas Army Air Base, Salinas, California. The remains of the crew were returned to their next of kin: Pilot Vernon C. Stevens; Command Pilot Douglas Thornburg; Copilot Floyd P. Hart; Bombardier Instructor Justin M. Marshall; Navigator Bose Gorman; Bombardier Noah H. Yost; Engineer Bernard Littman; Assistant Engineer Ralph S. Masterson; Radioman Lyle L. Frost; Gunner Walter O. Eisenbarth; Gunner Lee E. Salver; and Assistant Radioman Henry L. Blair.
October 3, 1954 [LAT]: “Plane crash 11 years ago linked to sea tragedy. Coast Guard cutter was en route to scene where 12 died when it collided with yacht. An 11-year-old plane crash on lonely San Miguel Island, which claimed 12 lives in 1943, yesterday contributed to a crash at sea which claimed two more. The Coast Guard cutter Morris, which collided with the yacht Aloha off Port Hueneme yesterday, was en route to San Miguel Island with a team of Air Force and civilian identification experts to search the scene where a B-24 Liberator bomber crashed with 12 crewman aboard on July 5, 1943. But two former Navy sailors yesterday told The Times that they knew of the bomber crash in 1944 and helped recover bodies at the scene then. Friday, officials at Norton Air Force Base had termed the new discovery of the wreckage by a fisherman the “’first word’ of the missing bomber since it disappeared in 1943…”
• February 5, 1958: A Boeing B-47E-45-LM Stratojet, 52-0388, of the 22d Bombardment Wing, March AFB, California, disappears 50 miles WSW of San Miguel Island, California, over the Pacific at night during a Hairclipper mission. It apparently blew up.
AIRPLANE ACCIDENTS — SAN NICOLAS ISLAND:
• February 14, 1945: “… At 1820 (6:20 P.M.) vectored planes to San Nicolas Island, which was 120 miles distant and which reported contact weather with 1500 ft. ceiling. Planes proceeded to vicinity of San Nicolas Island, receiving some assistance in vectors from U.S.S. Ranger which was operating nearby. Weather had closed in at San Nicolas Island upon their arrival there after dark… While attempting to land on San Nicolas Island one TBM crashed outside the field and the crew of three was killed. Two F4U also crashed outside the landing field area while attempting to land on San Nicolas Island, and the pilots were killed.”
On 14 Feb 1945: the planes from CVE 106 were to conduct strikes with live ammunition against a bombing area on San Clemente. Dobbin led the morning flight but found the weather unsatisfactory and returned to the ship. One plane crashed due to engine failure but the pilot was rescued. That afternoon six Avengers, three Corsairs, and two Hellcats were launched to continue training. A severe storm approached rapidly so Block Island recalled all aircraft. One Avenger successfully landed but the others were unable to land so they were vectored to San Nicolas about 120 miles away. The weather prevented landing and as a result eight aircrew and seven planes were lost. Although given vectors by Ranger (CV-4) operating nearby, the escort carrier's planes found that the weather had closed in San Nicolas, too. One "Hellcat" pilot reached the Marine Corps air station at Santa Barbara, but an "Avenger" pilot who attempted to reach San Nicolas failed. He and his two-man crew perished when the plane crashed just outside the field. Two "Corsairs" also crashed just outside the field, taking their pilots to their deaths. Maj. Vaupell tried to penetrate the overcast first at San Nicolas and then at Santa Barbara, before trying to make Bakersfield. Twenty miles short of the field, his "Avenger" crashed, and all on board died. Three others ditched successfully near San Nicolas and Santa Catalina, and the Coast Guard rescued two crews, uninjured, almost immediately while a third was picked up 12 hours later suffering from shock and exposure. All other planes landed at San Nicolas. Block Island and Childs spent the rest of that day and the next morning searching the waters off San Nicolas before returning to San Diego.
Grumman F6F-5K #79063 one of four that crashed on San Nicolas Island in the 1950s.
Mercer Airlines: Golden State Airlines c.1950: Burbank CA. The 135.2 certificate held by Ruby Morgan Mercer, wife of Dewight Westlay "Poddy" Mercer (1906-1986)[SS#503-09-1686], who operated Mercer Airlines. Charter operations and Navy contracts for San Clemente and San Nicolas Islands. One DC-3 [N33644] and one BE-18 Tradewind [N7805C]. Ended ops c.1979. (Data: Chuck Ross 4/11/01)
The DC-3 has a right hand door, so it must have been DC-3-G202A N16096, former American Airlines Flagship Tucson. The ex-Capitol airplane was DC-3-G102 N18620 (and can be seen at the very end of the movie-theater movie M*A*S*H).
The DC-4 was N93267, identifiable because it has black squares painted around the cabin windows. DC-4s have round windows. When other airlines were buying DC-6s, PSA couldn't afford them, so they painted black squares around the windows to fool the passengers.
During 1967 and 1968 N.A.S C-54s made the trip with cargo and pax on Tuesdays and Thursdays. When the DC-4 had a mechanical, Mercer would occasionally run their DC-6 (the prototype) and when that wasn't available, the Admiral would lend his C-121. When all else failed, the Sikorsky S-55 would carry a few.
DC2: N39165 Serial #1404  former Eastern Airlines relic designed to carry 14; Poddy crammed in 21 seats. Registered as since 1945 he sold it in the late '60s to Colgate Darden.
DC3: N31538 Serial #6317  registered to D. W. Mercer (1966-1976) — destroyed 8/4/1972 in fire/Burbank N18620 Serial #4886 registered to D. W. Mercer (1962-1976) N16096
DC6: [A DC6 owned by Mercer Enterprised crashed in Encino on a golf course in 1976.] N90444 N901MA
AIRPLANE ACCIDENTS — SANTA BARBARA ISLAND:
• July 14, 1937 [REG]: “The bodies of two naval reserve fliers killed in a navy plane crash during gunnery exercises off Santa Barbara Island lay in a Long Beach mortuary today. Victims of the crash which occurred yesterday, were Edwin C. Higgins, aviation cadet of Spokane, Washington, and Julian Stogner, coxswain of Long Beach, California, formerly of Hamlet, N. C. Shortly after the plane was catapulted from the deck of the battleship Mississippi, it went into a nose dive and plunged fifteen hundred feet into the sea.”
• January 22, 1955: Piper Cub crash landed because of ignition failure. Three aboard were unhurt.
AIRPLANE ACCIDENTS — SANTA CATALINA ISLAND:
Wayne Kratzer photographed this propeller and hub assembly at the Isthmus of Catalina in July 0f 2007. It may be from a Vought F4U-1D or a TBM-3 that crashed on the island in the 1940’s. http://www.aircraftwrecks.com/pic_archive/pic7.htm
- 4/30/1932: Lockheed P-38D Lightening Crash Landing at Santa Catalina Island. Second Lt. Walter F. Lichtenberger
- 8/4/1996: Cessna 421C crash 4 serious; 2 minor
FATAL SANTA CATALINA ISLAND CRASHES ONLY:
- 1921 Curtiss Flying Boat USN
- 1/19/1923 F-5L-2 Seaplane
1 fatality; 7 injured Lieut. W. H. Rohrbach
- 11/2/1933 Wilmington-Catalina Amphibian
2 fatalities; pilot survived
- Walter L. Seiler (42), pilot
- Elliott McFarlane Moore (31), airline manager
- George R. Baker, co-pilot
•4/30/1942 Lockheed P-38D Lightening 1 fatality: 5/6/1942 (Macha date?) Lt. Walter F. Lichtenberger (24), pilot
- 10/17/1944 Goodyear Blimp USN 6 fatalities; 6 survived
- 1944/1945 Voght F4U USN 1 fatality—pilot drowned in kelp
- 7/ 7/1960 2 fatalities:
Howard H. Holder (34) Robert T. Woyaich 8/9/1966 Cessna 150A N7160X 1 fatality:
5/27/1967 Grumman G-73 N2968 1 fatality; 3 injured
5/12/1967 Piper PA-24 4 fatalities: Frederick Phillippi (28), pilot Sally Phillippi (27), wife Gilbert Renbarger (60), her father Arlene Renbarger (57), her mother 9/29/1968 Grumman G-21A N325 1 fatality: Catalina Seaplanes
1/10/1969 McDonnell Douglas F-4B 2 fatalities:
2/18/1969 5 killed Killed when their Grumman E-1B USN hit Silver Peak.
3/21/1972 Cessna 150H N50218 2 fatalities: Roy W. Corrigan (22) Roger T. Powell (21) 1/14/1973 Piper PA-24 N5334P 1 fatality:
11/5/1976 Beechcraft D45 N14406 1 fatality:
8/19/1977 Grumman G-21 Goose N979SB 1 fatality: Catalina Airlines
8/22/1977 Beechcraft E18S(NTSB) N979SB 2 fatalities: Air Fast Freight Charles C. Clifford (38), pilot Robert G. Graves (38) 12/14/1977 Bellanca 7ECA N5233X
7/10/1978 Catalina Airlines helicopter fatal crash 1 fatality: Georgia Grace Wyatt
4/14/1979 Grumman G-21 N11CS 1 fatality: Ruth Gardner (81) Catalina Airlines aircraft was landing at Pebbly Beach when pilot attempted a go-around to avoid a boat wake. Aircraft stalled and crashed. http://catalinagoose.homestead.com/serialnumbers.html
9/17/1979 Grumman N22932 1 fatality: Catalina Airlines (33) Elevator control cable broke during a take-off at Pebbly Beach and aircraft crashed.
12/10/1979 Piper PA-28 N8432C 2 fatalities: David Lee Riddle (38) Eddie Reyes (20) 1/26/1980 Piper PA-32 N2781M 1 fatality; pilot survived saw USO (unidentified submerged object) Roman Noah Felice, pilot Mark Anthony Felice (30)
2/22/1981 Sikorsky S-62A N324Y 2 fatalities: Catalina Airlines
5/28/1981 Beechcraft 58 N140S 2 fatalities:
6/11/1982 Wing D-1 N8601M 2 fatalities: Alfred Asterman
1/3/1983 Piper PA-28-161 N2239M 2 fatalities; 2 injured Max Reinstein (62), pilot James Henry Gibbons (40) 1/30/1984 Leerjet 24 N44GA 6 fatalities Kenneth Doyle Plante (37), pilot David Soderling (28), co-pilot Steven A. Berardi (42) Heather Berardi (40) Joe L. Denison (49) Oralyn Ann Denison (50) 5/20/1984 Piper Lance N30298 2 fatalities; 3 injured
6/18/1984 FA-18 Hornet 1 fatality: Lt. Cmdr. James R. Brodengeyer (37) 1/18/1985 McDonnell Douglas F-18 1 fatality:
12/3/1985 Bell 206-L Jet Ranger 1 fatality; 11 survivors Island Express collision Hossein Habibi (28)
1/30/1986: Learjet 6 fatalities in landing accident
7/3/1990 Cessna 172N N2810E 1 fatality; two survivors Robert David Harder, Jr. (15) killed Robert David Harder, pilot survived Jonathan Benzing (33) survived 5/2/1992 Beechcraft A-36 N583T 1 fatality
5/27/1992 Beechcraft S-35 N5874S 2 fatalities:
2/15/1993 Beechcraft E-33 N7882R 1 fatality
4/5/1994 Cessna 152 N93508 1 fatality: Jeffrey Noel Matson (33) 2/11/1997 Piper PA-28-161 N8436X 1 fatality
5/7/1998 Cessna 172N N6514E 4 fatalities:
- Darin Cameron (19), pilot
- Audrey Nizich (24)
- Peter Nizich (19) brother
- Jennifer Ortega (19)
9/30/1998 Cessna 152 N49770 1 fatality
11/21/1999 Aerostar 600 N97CC 1 fatality
8/2/2002 Beechcraft 58-TC N2102L 2 fatalities: (54) (48) 12/24/2003 Piper PA-34-200T N3747U 5 fatalities
8/31/2005 Avions Robin R N216RN 1 fatality:
9/7/2005 Cessna 172RG N9636B 2 fatalities:
5/24/2008 Aerospatiale Helo N67GE 3 fatalities: Emeric Maillet (33), pilot John Terry (25), employee Tania Hurd (46), teacher 10/20/2008 Mooney M20J N201EN 3 fatalities: Dr. Charles Cowan (74), pilot Jeanien Cowan (56), wife Patricia Carmichael, friend (1947-2008) 2/5/2009 Beechcraft A-36 N66819 3 fatalities Mark Hoagland (48), pilot Amy Marie Judd (25), tourist Marshall Goldberg (39), tourist 7/1/2010 Cessna 182P N222CG 1 fatality: Jeffrey Loeffler (53), pilot, had a heart attack
November 8, 1933 [TI/Avalon]: “While taking off from the airport last Thursday for the early morning flight to the mainland, without passengers, one of the amphibian planes of the local airline suddenly swerved and overturned while traveling at a high rate of speed. The impetus was so great that Elliott McFarlane Moore, manager of the airline, and co-pilot George R. Baker, were instantly killed. Senior pilot W. L. Seiler was unconscious when taken to the Catalina Hospital after the crash. The exact cause of the accident that resulted in the two fatalities has not yet been determined. It is thought, however, that because there were no passengers on board, that some sort of a test was being made by the men on board the plane. The water was smooth, the flying conditions were ideal, and so far, according to the experts who have studied the wrecked plane, no mechanical defect has been discovered. One observer suggested that perhaps, as the plane ‘stepped’ from the water into the air the left pontoon dragged, which would swing the plane into a nosedive. As the plane overturned the occupants were hurled head first into the object nearest to them. Immediately after the mishap the airport crew, who had witnesses the upset nearly two miles offshore, sped to the rescue in the airport patrol boat and succeeded in freeing Pilot W. L. Seiler and recovering the body of Mr. Moore. Pilot Seiler arrived at the hospital in the city ambulance thirty minutes after the catastrophe. Funeral services were held in Long Beach Saturday for the co-pilot, George R. Baker, who was 28 years of age, and had been an Avalon resident for several months. At the request of relatives in the east, the remains of Lieut. Elliott McFarlane Moore, aged 36, were taken to Washington, D. C. for interment. This is the first fatal accident on the Wilmington-Catalina Airline that has occurred since its inauguration, when Mr. E. McFarlane Moore was made manager, May 30, 1931. Only the day previous to his death Manager Moore made the announcement tht the Catalina Airline had carried more than 36,000 passengers, and had flown more than 125,000 miles; that among the passengers, had been a ten-day-old baby and its mother; and on another occasion one of the passengers had been a nervous old lady, celebrating her 97th birthday by taking a round trip ride on the cross-channel plane! It is understood the service on the line will be resumed within the next few days, as soon as one of the other ships can be taken from its winter storage and placed in service. The safety precautions taken by the Catlaina Airline has not only been highly commended by the hundreds of passengers who have made the cross channel trip, but these precautions have also met with the exacting regulations of government inspectors. The twin motored amphibians used in the service are of the latest design, and carry ten passengers…”
October 19, 1944 [TI/Avalon]: “Five men were burned to death and five of the crew were seriously burned or injured when the U.S. Navy Blimp on a routine patrol crashed into the hillside at the south end of Avalon canyon at 11 P.M. Tuesday. The blimp was a total loss. So fierce was the fire after the crash that the surrounding ridge 1600 feet above sea level and three miles southeast of Avalon, was illuminated, despite the fog, for more than two hours. The fire burned about one acre of brush, stopping at the firebreak on top of the ridge. Several depth bombs carried by the blimp, exploded. With pack horses and stretchers rescue crews worked all night to bring out the injured and the dead. The injured ones were cared for at the U.S. Maritime hospital. The unidentified bodies were taken on board a navy patrol boat and back to the base at Santa Ana. It is understood that the blimp was making a night training flight and that shortly before the crash the craft had passed over the island, circled, and the navigator had set the course for the trip back to the mainland. According to the rescue workers the blimp struck the island about 100 feet from the top of the ridge. The debris was hurled far and wide and much of it landed in the bottom of the canyon some 600 feet deep. Until the cause of the catastrophe can be investigated and the nearest of kin notified strict censorship has been maintained by the Navy Department. The U.S Maritime Service, the Avalon Police and the Avalon Branch of the County Forestry Department, were highly complimented for their cooperation and helpfulness, by the U.S. Navy officers that came to Avalon by speed boat from the Santa Ana base.”
July 4, 1990 [LAT]: “A teen-age boy was killed and his father and another man were seriously injured when a small plane crashed into a hillside on Santa Catalina Island Tuesday [July 3]. The 15-year-old passenger, Robert David Harder, Jr., died at the scene near the Catalina Island Marine Institute, a summer youth camp west of Avalon. Another passenger, Jonathan Benzing, 33, was in serious condition with multiple injuries at Long Beach memorial Medical Center. The pilot, Robert David Harder, Sr. get rest of article
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.”
April 8, 1994 [LAT]: “A Laguna Beach man killed when his single-engine plane crashed in a remote area of Santa Catalina Island has been identified as Jeffrey Noel Matson, authorities said Thursday. Matson, 33, who received his private pilot’s license less than nine months ago, transmitted a distress signal to air traffic control in El Toro just minutes before crashing at 6:45 P.M. Tuesday, according to Jim Miller, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration. Matson told the tower he had engine trouble and planned to land at Catalina Airport, Miller 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.”
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.”
September 1, 2005 [LAT]: “The pilot of a small, private plane died Wednesday when his aircraft crashed into the sea two miles off Santa Catalina Island, but a passenger survived and was rescued by a pleasure boat, the U.S. Coast Guard said. The Robin Sport aircraft was flying from Long Beach to the Isthmus on Catalina when it developed engine problems, authorities said. The plane crashed two miles from Isthmus Harbor.”
October 25, 2008 [RDF]: “Dr. Charles Michael Cowan, a cardiologist who practiced in the Inland Empire for many years, and his wife, Jeanien Rickett Cowan, died October 20. Charles Cowan began his cardiology practice in San Bernardino in 1972 and later worked as a cardiologist at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Riverside. He was born June 25, 1934, in Jersey City to Joseph and Rebecca Cowan. He graduated from Ohio State University; completed medical school at New Jersey College of Medicine; had internships and residencies at Beth Israel Hospital in New York City, Grady Hospital in Atlanta and a fellowship in cardiology in Detroit; and served on the faculty of the School of Medicine at Wayne State University in Detroit. His family said he was an adventurer, athlete and a lover of life. He enjoyed white-water rafting, running, fishing, skiing and swimming and built his aircraft, the “VariViggen,’ which he flew for many years out of Rialto Airport. He also ran marathons, completed the ‘Iron Man’ in Hawaii, and finished the ‘Escape from Alcatraz’ triathlon in San Francisco. He and his wife, Jeanien, traveled ‘to the ends of the earth.’ He is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Sherry and John Hanover, son and daughter-in-law Billy and Supranee Cowan; step children Jennifer and Brian Buck and Brandon Haber; brother Ken Cowan; grandchildren, Sidney, Jacob and Carter.”
February 9, 2009 [LAT]: “Authorities have identified two of the three people killed in a plane crash Thursday on Catalina Island. Marshall D. Goldberg, 39, of Florida and Amy Marie Judd, 25 of Ohio, are believed to be the two passengers who died in the plane crash on a remote hilltop area on the western side of the island
February 27, 2009 [Clifford Law Offices]: “In trying to determine a cause of the fatal plane crash off California’s Catalina Island that killed passengers Marshall Goldberg, vice president for EnviroTrac, a national environmental consulting company, and Amy Marie Judd of Las Vegas, some interest is being focused on the flying license of their pilot, Marl Hoglund, who also died in the crash…”
July 5, 2010 [TCPP]: “ 53-year-old Wyoming, Minnesota man crashed his private plane on California’s Catalina Island and died Thursday afternoon after sending a radio message that he feared he was having a heart attack. Jeffrey Loeffler radioed to a traffic advisory frequency that he couldn’t move his right side, was having severe chest pains and might not be able to make it to the runway, said Sgt. Fred Keelin, watch commander for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Avalon station on Catalina. He crashed just minutes later, at 1 P.M., Keelin said Sunday. No one else was on board. The crash ignited an approximately 25-acre brush fire on the island, which firefighters spent the day battling, Keelin said.”
AIRPLANE ACCIDENTS — SANTA CRUZ ISLAND:
• 1920s: An overloaded rum running plane crashed at Christy Beach upon take-off during Prohibition. The wheels of the plane can still be found on the upper beach flats.
• March 2, 1949: Vought F4U U.S.M.C. (#97448) crashed in bad weather killing the pilot, Captain Jess Thierry (1921-1949). Wreck found March 5 scattered west of Scorpion Ranch on a barren ridge.
• Date unknown: North American F-51D U.S.A. F. hit 1808’ peak at the east end of the island killing the pilot. The crash occurred in cloudy weather. Scattered wreckage is still visible.?? see SRI
• March 30, 1954: Grumman AF-2W Guardian, a single-engine propeller-driven plane operated by the U.S. Government was searching for a missing jet aircraft
• Sept. 30, 1963: Cessna 150 (#N71159) crashed on the southwest side of the island.
• March 8, 1966: Cessna 182B (#N7254E) crashed on the northwest side of the island, killing the pilot. Wreckage is Scattered 200 yards south of the bootleg plane on Christy Beach.
• March 8, 1966: Piper Cherokee Six #N3296W crashed in bad weather killing all six persons aboard.
• June 9, 1972: Lockheed QT-33A USN based at Point Mugu crashed on Picacho Diablo, killing the pilot, Daniel W. Still: June 10, 1972 [SBNP]: “Point Mugu. The body of a Navy pilot was recovered from the wreckage of his jet aircraft in a desolate valley of Santa Cruz Island yesterday. The Navy and Coast Guard had been searching since Wednesday for Lt. Daniel W. Still, 29, of Camarillo. His QT-33 jet was seen going down during a routine training operation Wednesday afternoon. The cause of the crash, in a hilly section of the island’s main valley, was unknown.”
• 1974: Cessna 150 (#N71159) crash landed at Pozo Beach. A student pilot was flying with his instructor when they buzzed several cowboys moving cattle in the area. The plane was caught by a large wave and pulled into the surf. Both occupants survived, and parts of the wreckage are buried in the sand. The insurance company paid a claim to the Santa Cruz Island Company for littering the privately owned beach.
• fish spotter plane
• January 18, 1984: Cessna 206 crashed on the east end of the island seriously injuring three persons, including the caretaker at Scorpion Ranch, William Peterson.
AIRPLANE ACCIDENTS — SANTA ROSA ISLAND:
• Stinson 105 Voyager (#N67100) lies wrecked upside down near a dry lake bed. One man died and three were injured in this accident.
• April 3, 1951 Piper Pacer (NC5582H) crashed near Johnson's Lee while attempting to land in a field east of the cantonment. Passenger Victor Desmond Wheeler [SS# 527-05-6193], 47, a construction engineer working for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, was killed in the accident. Two others survived.
• 1950s: During the Cold War a fighter plane wrecked on top of the island, killing the pilot.
• 1950s: North American F-51D USAF crashed NE of Carrington Point.
• 1970s: Stinson L5 military surplus plane crashed next to San Agustin Canyon. Pieces of the wreck are still visible.
• December 22, 1983 Cessna 180K N2697K aircraft flipped over. No injuries.
• January 8, 1994 Britten Norman Islander N55JA Hard landing cracked the wing. No injuries.
[ADD: Elk poachers plane] [1 or 2 may be Army Engineer killed at Johnsons Lee]