Clipped From Redlands Daily Facts

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 - Rescuers persist in blizzard conditions Plane...
Rescuers persist in blizzard conditions Plane crash victims found safe By BETTYE WELLS Two Sacramento couples were found yesterday injured, but safe, nearly 24 hours after their single-engine Cessna 182 crashed during near-blizzard conditions at about the 9,000- foot level in Lightning Gulch between Sugarloaf Mountain and Onyx Peak shortly after noon Saturday. Injured were the pilot, Walter Laun, 49, who suffered head cuts; his wife, Shirley, no age available, who had back injuries; John McDonald, 50, who had bruised knees and head cuts; and his wife, Mildred, no age available, who suffered back injuries. The four were taken to March Air Force Base hospital, where they were listed in good condition. Both men are former Air Force pilots. About 10 members of the San Gorgonio end Valley of the Falls search and rescue teams joined sheriff's deputies and sheriff's helicopter pilot Capt. Terry Jagerson in the search for the rented aircraft shortly after it disappeared from FAA radar screens in Palm dale about 12:30 p.m. Saturday. The couples were returning to Sacramento from a vacation about an hour in an attempt to help the crash victims direct ground crews to the crash site. The plane's occupants could radio messages, but could not receive them, Jagerson said. "We figured he knew we were hearing his broadcast because we set off the siren each time we heard it," Jagerson said. "We knew they were close and we wanted to let them know we were there and to keep their spirits up." Jagerson attempted to visually locate the plane for about five hours yesterday morning, but said he was hampered by heavy fog that restricted visibility to less than 50 feet and icing on the rotar blades of his helicopter. He took another reading on the ELT signal, dropped a red smoke flare on the road for rescue vehicles to spot, and provided searchers on the ground with a new heading that led them to within a few hundred yards of the plane. Searchers found the aircraft about 12:30 p.m. where it had pancaked into the side of the mountain, slid 30 feet across the snow and stopped against one of the six-foot tall bushes scattered around the mountain. The two women were carried back to the rescue vehicles on stretchers rigged to sleds and their husbands were carried out on stretchers, a one-hour trip that was made hazardous by hidden boulders and tree limbs. It was another hour before the rescue vehicle reached Highway 38, where ambulances from Howard Ambulance and Western Ambulance companies took the four to March AFB. Searchers who trudged through thigh-deep snow for about three hours said the plane landed in a small clearing surrounded by trees and called the landing "miraculous." Sheriff's deputies said the plane was found about three miles from the fire road in terrain they said was "up and down". "It was a matter of luck and good fortune that we found them," said Capt. Duey Ringstad, of the Yucaipa sheriff's substation. Ringstad and Jagerson commended search and rescue teams who conducted the search in near-blizzard conditions Saturday and Sunday. "The ground crews did a heck of a job," Jagerson said. "The pilot really used his head, too. They didn't panic, they made sure the (ELT) beacon was working, they kept warm, and they didn't leave the plane. They would have gotten lost for sure if they had." Jagerson said he also appreciated the cooperation from Norton AFB, Ontario International Airport, and the FAA. Two Redlands residents who participated in the search both days as part of the San Gorgonio Search and Rescue team narrowly avoided injury when their rescue vehicle hit an icy patch, slid into a snowbank and overturned on Highway 38 between Camp Angelus and the Jenks Lake Loop last night. Don Walters and Jim Thomas were not injured. Board to answer questions on tax A response to questions posed by citizens concerned abm;' ii:-:-. March 2 school tax ovtrricc election will be the subject oi' a special report at \»monw night's School Board -neetrng, set for 7:30 p.m. in the iichwl Board Room,

Clipped from
  1. Redlands Daily Facts,
  2. 09 Feb 1976, Mon,
  3. Page 3

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