Search for missing plane with 10 people

February 19, 1989
Corona Hills

ForwardReturn to IndexBack

RMRU was called very early on Monday morning for a search for an overdue airplane, with ten people on board.

Members met at Corona fire station to learn that the Cessna 410 had left Las Vegas Sunday morning in poor weather with a destination of John Wayne Airport in Orange County. The nine family members and pilot had planned an outing at Disneyland. A search was initiated when they did not reach their destination.

The hills and canyons that made up the search area to the south of Corona are extremely steep, brushy and rugged. It was felt that a helicopter was needed and Dorcey Wingo arrived from Hiser Helicopters in Corona in a Hughes 500. The weather had been heavy fog earlier, and now at first light was starting to break up. As we briefed Dorcey, and waited for the weather to clear, we were amazed to hear over the radio that the plane had been spotted by a news helicopter, crashed into the side of a very steep hillside with definitely no survivors.

Because of the ruggedness of the area, RMRU was used to take charge of the crash site - to oversee all helicopter and technical operations, and to help the coroner remove the bodies. RMRU members and essential gear was transported to the scene amid the hazards of remnants of fog and the buzzing of news helicopters. Once the FAA and NTSB investigators had finished their initial investigation, RMRU members helped the coroner with the truly dreadful task of locating and removing the five children, their parents, their aunt and uncle and the pilot from the wreckage. The body bags were then sling-loaded out by Dorcey, and then all team members and other personnel were flown out.

The mission was completed about four o'clock in the afternoon, and everyone headed for home.