At least two persons are dead in the Monday morning crash of a Beechcraft A36 single engine light plane approximately 100 yards offshore from the 2800 block of Nielson Way (lifeguard tower 28) in Santa Monica. A search was underway Monday afternoon for a possible third victim, but by Tuesday morning it was reported that authorities had no reason to believe anyone else was on the flight. The plane had taken off from Santa Monica Airport, reported mechanical trouble, and tried to return to the field, when it went down in the ocean. The victims were identified by the Los Angeles County Coroner as former game show host Peter Tomarken, 63, and his wife Kathleen Abigail Tomarken, 41. Tomarken was flying his private plane to San Diego as a volunteer with nonprofit Angel Flight West to transport a patient to UCLA Medical Center for treatment. At least one witness videotaped the crash, which was then shown on local television.The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating, but Gurdon Smith of the Board’s Gardena office told the Mirror that no information was available Tuesday as to the cause of the incident; a preliminary report is expected by the weekend.Captain Scott Ziegert of the Santa Monica Fire Department said Monday that his agency was notified at approximately 9:30 that morning, but that Santa Monica soon turned matters over to the Los Angeles County Fire Department inasmuch as the County Lifeguards on the scene had been the first to respond and other County agencies were quickly Mobilized.As of Monday afternoon, Inspector John Mancha of County Fire said that an extensive search for a possible third victim was underway over an expanded area in 19 feet of water, including 22 persons, not only from County Fire and Lifeguards, but from the Los Angeles County Sheriffs dive team and the U.S. Coast Guard as well. After the search was called off on Tuesday, CBS News reported that the “third passenger” listed on the flight plan was the patient the Tomarkens were to pick up in San Diego to bring back to UCLA Medical Center.
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