Sat, Feb 07, 2009
Believed To Be Sightseeing Plane
A helicopter rescue team located the charred wreckage of a
Beechcraft Bonanza Friday morning, less than 24 hours after the
plane went missing with three onboard shortly after takeoff from
Catalina Airport (AVX) 24 miles off the coast of California.
The Los Angeles Times reports search teams found the wreckage
about 10 am local time, on a hilltop west of the island airport.
The wreckage was charred, with the bodies of the three people
onboard the aircraft burned beyond immediate recognition.
Officials with the US Coast Guard believe they know the name of
at least one of the victims. Pilot Mark Hogland is president of
SkyBlue USA, a local aerial sightseeing operation that operates
Bonanzas. Sheriff's officials confirmed the accident plane belonged
to his company.
The plane took off from AVX at 4:50 pm Thursday, bound for John
Wayne Airport in Santa Ana. Officials say conditions were cloudy
and rainy when the aircraft departed Catalina.
Crews began searching for the plane around 10:30 pm Thursday
evening, after Hogland's fiancee said she hadn't heard from
Catalina Airport (shown above) is known as "the airport in the
sky" by locals on the island. Its 3,000-foot runway lies atop a
narrow mesa, with steep dropoffs to the water at both ends.
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