Plane Disappeared Into Clouds Last Wednesday
Crews searching for a missing Cessna
twin that disappeared last week near Banning Pass in southern
California came across the wreckage Saturday, but found no sign any
of the four persons onboard the plane survived the impact.
The Palm Springs Desert Sun reports the Cessna 340 (file photo
of type, right), tail number N354TJ, disappeared Wednesday
afternoon, shortly after taking off from Bermuda Dunes Airport
(UUD) near Palm Springs, bound for Chino.
The last radar contact from the aircraft came at 1339 PST
Wednesday, about nine minutes after the plane left Bermuda Dunes.
"The last radar reading puts them in the San Gorgonio Pass," said
Chino police Lt. Al Cheatham. "They were also seen by occupants of
another plane going into a bank of clouds."
The aircraft was reported missing by family members Wednesday
night. On Saturday, crews onboard eight fixed-wing aircraft scoured
an area on the north side of San Gorgonio Pass. A helicopter crew
located the wreckage late Saturday afternoon, and was able to
verify the tail number, said Sgt. Dennis Gutierrez of the Riverside
County Sheriff's Department... but weather precluded a closer
"We are concerned because the storm came in that night and
Sunday," Cheatham said. "Snow was already reported 10 to 12 feet
deep in some places above 7,000 feet elevation, and the storm
dumped more snow." Crews hoped to be airlifted to the accident site
The wreckage was found about 1.5 miles from where the plane was
seen entering the cloud bank, said Civil Air Patrol Capt. Andrea
Binder, and about one mile north of the I-10 freeway. There is no
immediate evidence of an IFR flight plan filed for the plane's tail
Family identified those onboard the missing plane as Michael
Bybyk, 75; Joyce Bybyk, 70; Alvin Baker, 79; and Gail Pugel, 68.
The aircraft was owned by the Bybyks.