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Search suspended for survivors of Southern California midair collision

By Daniel Uria and Marilyn Malara   |   Feb. 6, 2016 at 9:46 AM

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- U.S. Coast Guard officials have suspended their search for survivors after two aircrafts went down off the Southern California coast following a midair collision Friday afternoon.

No survivors were found during a search which took place between 3:30 p.m. Friday and 9:15 a.m. Saturday morning. The Coast Guard will now turn its attention to finding the bodies and recovering the airplane wreckage.

The Coast Guard used two 87-foot rescue boats during their search.

Shortly after the midair collision, divers found a debris field from the planes in the waterway off San Pedro, near Los Angeles. Authorities found a log book in the water, identifying the passengers of the first plane as two men, ages 61 and 81.

The tail number of the second aircraft was also found and it is believed to be a plane piloted by a 72-year-old woman. It was set to land at Torrance airport on Friday but never arrived.

The operation was being classified as a rescue ahead of the search's suspension.

"We don't want to give up on anybody that potentially is out there," Capt. Jennifer Williams said. "It's cold water, but it is possible to survive in those temperatures."

One of the aircrafts was a Beechcraft while the other was a Super Decathlon, the two went missing off the coast of Long Beach near San Pedro.

Passengers on a private fishing boat alerted the Coast Guard of a small plane plunging into the water at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, the same time radar signal for two aircrafts was lost.

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