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River Search Continues for Bodies of 2 Women

April 03, 2002|SANDRA MURILLO | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Authorities continued to search Tuesday for the bodies of two Torrance women presumed drowned in a spring break boating accident last week on the Colorado River.

Andrea Goodman and Cherlyn Katsuno, both 19, and several friends were riding on the open bow of the 21-foot Advantage when it hit another boat shortly after 8 p.m. March 29 near Parker, Ariz.

Several of the nine passengers aboard the Advantage were tossed into the water upon impact, authorities said. The boat's operator, Taylor Key of Long Beach, did not see the 24-foot boat and hit it at about 30 mph, authorities said.

Boaters near the accident scene rescued several people from the water, Buckskin (Ariz.) Fire Department Chief Charlie Philpot said. He described the situation as chaotic. "Everyone was yelling," Philpot said. "Boats were moving all around. People were screaming that someone was missing."

The river's current carried the boats downstream and made it difficult for divers to pinpoint the location of the accident, Philpot said. With the injured on different boats, rescuers initially thought only one woman was missing.

Buckskin fire divers began a search for the woman. They were joined by the Colorado River Indian Tribal Police and Fire departments, the La Paz County (Ariz.) Sheriff's Department and other departments. They later realized that two women were missing.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, which is leading the investigation, called off the diving searches late Monday, but Buckskin fire officials continued diving Tuesday morning.

"At this point, we're out there to see if we can find them for these families," Philpot said.

The cause of the crash is under investigation, said Jodi Miller, a spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.

The two women graduated from West High School in Torrance. Friends said Goodman attended Cal State Long Beach and Katsuno went to El Camino College.

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