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San Gabriel Valley Digest

El Monte : Crash Victims Identified

August 05, 1993

The three victims of a fiery helicopter crash Saturday at El Monte Airport have been identified.

Killed were three friends: Anthony Duran, 32, a real estate agent who lived in Manhattan Beach; Nicholas Lovoy, 29, an auto dealership parts manager who lived in La Puente, and Benjamin Venti Jr., 30, a real estate developer from Rialto.

At Venti's wedding June 26, Lovoy was the best man and Duran, an usher. Venti, who grew up in Monterey Park, and Duran, who grew up in El Sereno, were fraternity brothers when they attended Cal State L.A.

The families of Venti and Lovoy, who grew up in Alhambra, have been close for years, said Venti's father, Benjamin Venti Sr. And in recent years, he said, the three "were very, very close friends. It was like they had been friends forever."

Describing his son as an excellent pilot, Venti Sr. said he and his son had just set up a helicopter service.

Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board and the Los Angeles County coroner's office said they are investigating the crash of the R-44 Robertson, a rare four-seat aircraft that went up about 50 feet before crashing onto the runway.

It could take months to determine the cause of the crash, said Scott Erickson, an investigator for the NTSB.

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