LOS ANGELES -- One of the 11 people killed in five weekend air accidents in Southern California was identified Monday as an actor who played a stripper on a soap opera and was an exotic dancer in real life.
John Gibson, 38, who appeared on the CBS daytime drama 'The Young and the Restless' from January 1981 to February 1982, was killed Saturday when the rented plane he was flying crashed near Van Nuys Airport.
A spokeswoman at Merv Griffin Enterprises, which produces the 'Wheel of Fortune' game show on which Gibson's girlfriend, Vana White, appears, confirmed that the actor had been killed in the crash.
Gibson was alone in the rented Trinidad TB20 when it skimmed across busy Roscoe Boulevard, hit a curb and exploded into flames in the first of two fatal crashes near the airport, the busiest private aviation field in the nation.
Dean Gilmour, a spokesman for the Coroner's Office, said Gibson was burned eyond recognition in the fiery crash and official identification would be established by comparing dental X-rays.
Gibson danced at Chippendale's in west Los Angeles until about three years ago. White, the co-hostess of the television game show 'Wheel of Fortune,' notified the club's owners of Gibson's death Saturday night, club manager Marc Pakin said.
During his stint on 'The Young and the Restless' Gibson played the role of Cash, a male stripper.
About two hours after the crash that killed Gibson, a Cessna 320 plummeted into a cornfield near a park with golf courses during a landing approach to the same airport, killing six people.
The man believed to be the pilot of that plane was identified as Dr. Stanley Daniels, a Federal Aviation Administration medical examiner who certifies pilots as physically fit to fly.
Two of his passengers were identified as Bertran Stern, 47, of Mountain View and his cousin, Donald Stern, 55, of Granada Hills.
A friend said Donald Stern was the director of photography on such films as 'Ninja,' 'Creature,' 'Titan' and 'Pray for Death.'
Donald Scott Swanger, 39, and his daughter Nicole, 14, both of Chatsworth, also were killed in the crash. The name of the sixth victim, a 63-year-old Woodland Hills man, was withheld until relatives could be told of his death, Gilmour said.
The first accident of the weekend occurred in Temecula, about 35 miles south of Riverside, when a hot air balloon drifted into power lines, which severed the cables holding the gondola. Two people were killed and one critically injured when the craft plunged to the ground.
Two people were killed and two injured in a plane crash at Chino Airport in San Bernardino County minutes after the balloon accident. There were no serious injuries in the fifth accident, a small plane crash in the Lancaster area.