Plane crashes in Bonelli Park
Posted April 18, 2008
Lauren Pollard
At roughly 8:45 p.m. Tuesday, a twin engine Piper PA-23 Apache plane crashed into the East Shore hillside of Bonelli Park in San Dimas. The pilot and his one passenger suffered injuries and were transported for medical attention.

Susan Acker
Web Editor

After taking off from Brackett Field in La Verne Tuesday, a twin engine Piper PA-23 Apache crashed into the side of a hill in East Shore RV Park in San Dimas.

Both the pilot and his one passenger, who were air-lifted to County-USC Medical Center, sustained non-fatal injuries. The crash occurred at roughly 8:45 p.m.

Brackett Field is one of five airports owned by Los Angeles County and is less than a mile east of the RV park.

“I was the first one there,” East Shore resident Tom Angster said.

Angster watched the plane as it flew above his motor home and crashed.

“I got maybe 200 feet away and it burst into flames,” Angster said. “I was afraid it was going to blow.”

With the help of one other man, Angster pulled the pilot and passenger from the plane.

“It was really something I will never forget,” Angster said. “Once I heard them scream, I just did what I thought was right.”

Patrick Di Leva, Airport Project Coordinator for Los Angeles County, was at the site Wednesday.

“The plane took off from runway 26 West and it basically veered left,” Di Leva said.

Di Leva said he suspects that the pilot lost the left engine before going down.

“We wanted to make sure there were no operation problems,” Di Leva said.

The aviation division in the Department of Public Works in Los Angeles inspects county-owned airports regularly Di Leva said.

Many watched Wednesday as the investigation continued and officials prepared to have the plane removed.

“Acting so fast probably saved their lives,” James Allen, East Shore resident said.

Jerry Neal was also one of the first at the scene.

“I administered first-aid,” Neal said.

Neal has lived at East Shore for seven years and this is not the first crash he has seen.

Another plane crash killed four people in Bonelli Park on July 4, 2002.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash and will release a preliminary report within five days.

Susan Acker can be reached at

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