Two Cessna 172s that departed Santa Monica Airport 13 minutes apart Monday, April 29 crashed into each other mid-flight above the Santa Monica Mountains, killing the pilot and passenger in one of the planes.
Authorities have identified the two killed as as Cheryl Jolene Strawn, 69, and Christopher Wade, 63. The hometowns of the pair have not been released.
An online search reveals Strawn is a pilot who regularly flies out of SMO.
The collision occurred at 2:01 pm on April 29 about eight miles east-northeast of Ventura.
One of the planes crashed into a mountainous section of Malibu Creek State Park just north of Malibu near Calabasas, killing Strawn and Wade. This plane took off from SMO for an engine test flight just after 1:40 pm.
The other plane performed an emergency gear-up landing six miles away on Westlake Golf Course in Westlake Village with all three people on board surviving with only minor injuries. This plane took off from SMO bound for Camarillo at 1:53 pm.
According to reports, this plane bore markings of American Flyers, a pilot-training school based at Santa Monica Airport, but the company was not making any comment on whether it was one of its planes.
FAA records show the tail number N4677V of the plane that made the emergency landing is registered to “Reg. Ameriflyers of Florida LLC.”
The plane with the two fatalities was destroyed by fire after impact.