Mid-Air Crash Scene One Large Debris Field

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Personal Injury News

Article Date: 5/19/2009 | Resource: MLG

Mid-Air Crash Scene One Large Debris Field

“The search continues for missing pilots and passengers.”

Search crews are considering two separate debris fields as one large area as their attempt to rescue possible survivors of a mid-air crash continue Tuesday.

The area under surveillance is 10 miles long north to south and 20 miles long east to west, just off the shores of Long Beach.
A full day of sunlight could be the best bet for search teams to find at least three missing pilots lost at see.

“At this point, we’ve recovered a lot of debris but no indication of survivors.” said Capt. Paul Weidenhoeft, Sector Commander with the United State Coast Guard, “We are still within the time that we can expect someone to survive.”

Before night fall Monday, crews from the USCG and Firefighters from Los Angeles and Long Beach were able to recover pieces of the two Cessna-type aircraft. But overnight, choppy water and foggy skies meant they had to scale down the search until sunrise.


“We do have divers standing by,” said LA City Fire Asst. Chief Tony Varela, “we’re waiting for a hit right now.”

A “hit” as they call it, is a clue on sonar equipment that something’s in the water. As they search the surface by boat, they search the depths by machine.

“As we’re looking for debris,” said Varela, “the fuselage and such, once we get a sonar hit, we can deploy those divers.”
But the hope for survivors becomes less hopeful as time passes. Words from the airborne pilot who witnessed the crash don’t help either.

“It was a pretty traumatic collision,” Capt. Wiedenhoeft said about the witness’s thoughts, “and we’ve seen from the debris we’ve recovered, that holds true.”

The FAA and NTSB are on scene helping in the investigation. They say the two planes that collided were similar Cessna-type aircraft: one a high wing, single engine plane, the other a low-wing twin-engine plane. The first is believed to have had on board an instructor and student pilot; no word if the pilot in the second plane had any passengers.

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Jeffrey Marquart