N354TJ C340A subject of California Civil Air Patrol Search..


N354TJ Cessna 340A missing with 4 on board, Civil Air Search continues near Mount San Jacinto California.
.OC Register News



6:07 p.m. February 9, 2008

RIVERSIDE Searchers in aircraft Saturday found the wreckage of a plane in the Banning Pass that had four occupants aboard when it disappeared about a week ago, and it appears there are no survivors, a sheriff’s sergeant said.
The plane was found late Saturday afternoon, said Sgt. Dennis Gutierrez of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

A helicopter crew was able to read the tail number, but saw no survivors, he said.

The search was suspended for the night, but searchers will be airlifted to the site Sunday, he said.

Michael Bybyk, 75, and Joyce Bybyk, 70, both of Fullerton, Alvin Baker, 79, of Chino, and Gail Pugel, 68, of Ontario were on the white twin-engine Cessna 340 with tail number N354TJ plane, owned by the Bybyks, which went missing last week.

The plane was found about 1 1/2 miles from where it was last seen disappearing into a cloud bank, a mile north of the 10 Freeway in a mountainous, unpopulated area, said Civil Air Patrol Capt. Andrea Binder.

Crews in eight fixed-wing aircraft focused their search today on the rugged ridges and chasms at elevations up to 11,500 feet on the north side of the San Gorgonio Pass, she said.

Family members reported the four missing late Wednesday night.

Investigators believe the Bybyks, Baker and Pugel left Chino Airport the morning of Feb. 2 and flew to Bermuda Dunes Airport near Indio. They took off from Bermuda Dunes to return to Chino at about 1:30 p.m., said Chino police Lt. Al Cheatham.

Last radar contact with the plane was at 1:39 p.m. in the area east of Banning near the San Jacinto Mountains, authorities said.

The last radar reading puts them in the San Gorgonio Pass, Cheatham said. They were also seen by occupants of another plane going into a bank of clouds.

Investigators believe Michael Bybyk was piloting the plane, Cheatham said. Bybyk has been certified for single-engine and multi-engine aircraft since May 1992, according to a Federal Aviation Administration database.

We are concerned because the storm came in that night and Sunday, Cheatham said. Snow was already reported 10 to 12 feet deep in some places above 7,000 feet elevation, and the storm dumped more snow.

Civil air patrol volunteers conducting the aerial search today were joined by pilots with Riverside County sheriff’s aviation and San Bernardino County sheriff’s aviation, Cheatham said.

Mountain search-and-rescue volunteers were busy through the storm last weekend. On Sunday, ground crews managed to rescue two Marine sergeants from Twentynine Palms who attempted to ascend an ice-encrusted trail near the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

On Monday, a helicopter team rescued a Riverside woman who climbed to the top of Mount San Jacinto on Saturday, slipped and broke an ankle, then spent two bitter-cold nights in a stone hut just below the peak.


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