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Mon, Mar 13, 2006

Bonanza Down In Santa Monica Bay

Former Game Show Host Was Participating In An Angel Flight

ANN REALTIME UPDATE 03.13.06 2215: Two victims of Monday's crash of a Bonanza into Santa Monica Bay have been identified by the Los Angeles Coroneer's Office.

Peter Tomarken, 63, former host of the 1980s game show "Press Your Luck," and his wife, Kathleen Abigail Tomarken, 41, died when their Beech Bonanza impacted the water approximately 300 yards shy of Santa Monica Beach.

CNN reports the plane was on its way to San Diego, to pick up a medical patient and fly them back to UCLA Medical Center. Doug Griffith, spokesman for nonprofit medical transport group Angel Flight West, said Peter Tomarken was a volunteer for the group.

The search continues for a third person believed to be onboard the plane.

One witness described the final moments before the aircraft sunk below the water's surface.

"It's a big splash, a huge splash, huge splash. Then it started doing down," Luis Garr told the Associated Press. "The wings were still floating so I was, `Get out! Get out!' because the door was still available to get out and nobody came out. So the plane kept going down, down, down."

ORIGINAL REPORT

A Beechcraft A36 Bonanza (file photo of type, below) went down Monday morning in Santa Monica Bay, off the coast of California. Preliminary reports of the accident indicate the aircraft suffered apparent engine failure, and was trying to return to Santa Monica Airport when the plane went down.

One person was killed in the accident, according to Coast Guard spokesman Nathan Henise. Another person onboard was rescued, but that person's condition is not yet known.

Rescuers are continuing their search for a third person who was onboard the Bonanza. Rescuers are being assisted by lifeguards and surfers who responded to the accident site, approximately 300 yards off the beach and a half-mile southwest of Santa Monica Pier.

Weather does not appear to have been a factor in the accident. Conditions this morning were reported as sunny, with 5 miles visibility.

FMI: www.faa.gov, www.angelflight.com

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