SAN PEDRO (CBSLA.com) — Three people who traveled in two planes that collided mid-air near the Port of Los Angeles are presumed dead, officials said Sunday.
According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, multiple boats using underwater ROVs and divers will search for plane debris and the bodies of the victims today.
Around 3:30 p.m. on Friday, two small aircraft described as a Beech 35 Bonanza and a Citabria collided near the Point Fermin Lighthouse located in the area of Cabrillo Beach.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, two adult men aged 61 and 81 traveled in one plane. Both men were from the South Bay area.
A 72-year-old woman was piloting the second aircraft. CBS2’s Greg Mills spoke with Rich Fallstrom who identified the female pilot as his wife, Mary on Saturday.
The couple had been married for 24 years.
On Sunday, Mills reported that friends of Martin Clement mourned his loss at a church in Redondo Beach.
“I’ll miss him as a true friend,” said Jim Egnatuk, “It’s still a shock, we’re in mourning.”
On the St. Lawrence Martyr Catholic Church website, they identified Martin Clement, their deacon, as one of the three people killed Friday.
It is believed Clement was piloting the second plane.
A preliminary investigation revealed both small planes flew out of the Torrance Airport.
Federal Aviation Administration officials said the planes appeared on their radar systems shortly before the crash was reported by a fisherman in the area, but then both disappeared.
During rescue efforts on Saturday, the Coast Guard used two 87-foot patrol boats to conduct search patterns throughout the 200-mile area before suspending their search.
Sunday evening authorities said they recovered two bodies around 2 p.m. Earlier, they said they had recovered and some debris from the plane and a pilot’s log book.
The third victim’s name has not been released.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the incident.
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