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Two Dead, Two Injured in Separate Plane Crashes

April 05, 1997|From Times Staff Reports

Two people were found dead Friday after their small plane slammed into a hillside in the Cleveland National Forest, and in a separate accident on Santa Catalina Island, two survivors were cut from the wreckage of their aircraft after it crashed approaching the runway of the island airport.

Searchers found the victims in the Cleveland National Forest crash after the crew of a Marine Corps helicopter saw the wreckage on the north slope of Sierra Peak, along the Orange-Riverside County border.

Investigators said the Cessna 210 appeared to have been there at least 24 hours. Federal Aviation Administration officials said they had no recent reports of late or missing aircraft.

Orange County Fire Capt. Dan Young said the plane appeared to have struck the hillside and bounced before coming to a rest about 1,000 feet from the initial impact. Wreckage was scattered over about 1,200 feet, he said.

Identities of the victims were not available. One was male but the gender of the other could not be immediately determined.

In the Santa Catalina Island accident, the plane crashed in a canyon as it was approaching the Airport in the Sky, said Sgt. John Domen of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Catalina station. "Witnesses watching the approach said it just disappeared."

The plane came to rest about 100 yards down the side of the canyon.

The victims were identified as Kimberly Ledbetter, who was piloting the plane, and her husband, Joseph. They are from Richmond, Calif., authorities said.

The couple were airlifted to mainland hospitals--Kimberly to the Harbor-USC Medical Center in Torrance and her husband to St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach--for treatment of broken bones and abrasions, authorities said.

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