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Wed, Jul 06, 2011

Accident Fatally Injures Santa Paula Air Show Pilot

Cessna Went Down In Riverbed Near The Airport

An air show pilot based at the Santa Paula, CA airport (KSZP) was one of two people fatally injured when the Cessna 180 they were flying went down in a riverbed near the airport Sunday night.

Cessna C 180 File Photo

Ventura County, CA Chief Deputy Medical Examiner James Baroni has identified the two who were killed as James "Seamus" McCaughley Jr. and Kristin Keppel, according to the Associated Press. McCaughley was an experienced air show pilot. The FAA's preliminary investigation report indicates that the Cessna struck a powerline and went down in the riverbed. FAA spokesperson Allen Kenitzer told the LA Times that the aircraft appeared to suffer an engine failure shortly after takeoff.

Television station KABC reports that one of the victims was found in the airplane, but the other was nearby. It is not known if that person was ejected from the aircraft when it went down, or survived long enough to get clear of the wreckage.

Television station KEYT reports that McCaughley had recently moved to Santa Paula from Santa Monica, CA.

McCaughley's Facebook page notes that his father was a pilot and A&P mechanic who maintained and flew a Cessna 210, and the tradition was passed down. Seamus McCaughley performed in west coast shows in a biplane he called the "Bleagle," a modified and strengthened Christen Eagle with a 350-horsepower Lycoming IO-540 replacing the original IO-360.



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