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http://cbs2.com/topstories/local_story_072135951.html

Peter
"Trusty Rusty"
18' Bayrunner
 

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(AP) SANTA MONICA, Calif. Police have identified the two people killed Monday morning in a light plane crash off the Santa Monica pier as former game show host Peter Tomarken, 63, and his wife, Kathleen.

The plane is in 19 feet of water about 200 yards offshore.

Rescue boats and divers are at the scene, about a half-mile southwest of Santa Monica Pier. At 4 p.m. Monday afternoon, divers helped to raise the wreckage of the plane.

Tomarken, 63, host of such shows as "Hit Man", "Wordplay," and "Wipeout" but was probably most known for the 80s era "Press Your Luck" which still appears on reruns on GSN, the Game Show Network.

It is unclear whether there was a third person aboard. Reports say that the Tomarkens were on their way to San Diego to transport a woman from San Diego who needed treatment at UCLA Medical Center.

The Beech A-36 went down while apparently trying to return to Santa Monica Airport because of engine trouble. The airport is about two miles inland from the ocean.

Rescue boats and divers are at the scene, about a half-mile southwest of Santa Monica Pier. At 4 p.m. Monday afternoon, divers helped to raise the wreckage of the plane.
 

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Did they ever determine the cause of death ...the plane was in pretty good shape when recovered.....did they drown, or die of blunt force trauma???

I did not see the armature video of the crash.....so I don't know what type of angle they hit at....but it appeared as if all the damage was done to the nose section, bottom area...not even a broken window.
 

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I did not hear anything about cause of death. They released the airport tower recordings and it was very sad an tragic. The guy was holding himself together really well even though he knew he was in very deep [email protected] And they were doing a charity life flight when they went down - how sad.

One story I saw indicated that the investigation had already disclosed that they busted a connecting rod in one cylinder and that blew the engine. I don't know if that report is accurate but, if it is, can you imagine losing your life cuz you snapped a connecting rod. This is why I never wanted to fly planes even though my Dad loved it. I blow a motor on my boat...it's possible I could lose my life depending on where it happens...but if I'm prepared the odds are that I'm getting a tow in (or coming in on my other motor). Odds are that I'm not going to die. Of course I never wanted to ride a motor cycle either since I didn't want to bet my life on a tire (I've blown a bunch of them in a car). Maybe I'm a wimp!!
 

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http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=local&id=4012741

SANTA MONICA - The plane crash that killed former game show host Peter Tomarken and his wife was likely caused by engine failure.

A preliminary investigation by the NTSB shows the plane's engine had extensive damage, including an 8 by 6 inch hole in the case.

http://www.upi.com/NewsTrack/view.php?StoryID=20060320-101416-1451r

LOS ANGELES, March 20 (UPI) -- Federal investigators say the plane crash that killed TV game show host Peter Tomarken and his wife may have been caused by a faulty engine rod.

National Transportation Safety Board said a hole found in the wreckage of the six-seater plane indicates the rod may have caused the plane to plunge into the ocean off the Santa Monica pier in Los Angeles March 13, "Entertainment Tonight" reported Monday.

Tomarken, an experienced pilot, had just left the Santa Monica Municipal Airport when he reported engine trouble. The plane had turned around but crashed into the ocean before it could reach Santa Monica.

http://www.10news.com/news/8172259/detail.html

SAN DIEGO -- 10News has obtained a Federal Aviation Administration tape from last week's fatal plane crash into the ocean near the Santa Monica pier.

The small single-engine Bonanza was bound for San Diego last Monday on a voluntary medical mission to fly a patient to UCLA, but a failed engine cut the flight and two lives short -- pilot Peter Tomarken, a former game show host, and his wife.

They were in trouble moments after taking off from the Santa Monica airport, according to the FAA tapes.

"What's the nature of your emergency?" asked an air traffic controller.

"I'm losing the engine. It's going out on me," said Tomarken.

At that time, Tomarken was over the water.

Air traffic controllers based at San Diego's Tracon FAA facility directed Tomarken back to the Santa Monica Airport.

"I'm at 900 feet. I don't think I can make the airport," said Tomarken.

Tomarken knew there was no reviving his Bonanza's single-engine.

"Negative on the airport," said Tomarken.

"I saw a big splash. I saw people screaming and running," said eyewitness Vicki Ricome.

Investigators say the failed engine is the likely cause of the crash.
 

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It's a shame to see things like this happen but they do. No disrespect intended but I didn't know the failure of a connecting rod caused airplanes to fall out of the sky. It generally makes things up front real quiet but certainly would not cause departure from controlled flight. There seemed to be a fair amount of communication between the PIC and TRACON after the engine failure which leads me to wonder if he may not have done one of the most important things during an inflight emergency.....fly the plane.

I might be wrong, not knowing all the parameters and also the sea conditions, but a controlled ditching in moderate seas is a very survivable event if done correctly. Also, the A36 Bonanza though very common, is a pretty complex General Aviation aircraft. Fast, nimble, and expensive. A number of years ago they were built with elevons or a "V" tail configuration and are still known through the ranks as the "fork-tailed Doctor killers" because they were the only ones that could afford to own them! It's imperative that you stay on your toes when piloting one of these birds, you can never get "behind" it, you always have to be several steps ahead of the plane and that's what makes me wonder if this isn't what "really" caused their unfortunate demise.
 

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>a controlled ditching in moderate seas is
>a very survivable event if done correctly.

is this spoken from experience?
 

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Tim- the tape that I heard of the PIC/ATC communication sounded like he was pretty calm and trying to fly the plane. He estimated that he would not make it back to the airport, so he knew he was going to be putting it down.
Clearly he was heading for the beach but just ran out of altitude.

According to the eyewitness reports, the plane landed hard and then turned nose down and went down in less than half a minute. At least the wife survived the impact because she was alive when the retrieved her but subsequently died. I dont know if the pilot survived the impact but it is quite likely he did.

Sounds to me like they just did not have the time to exit the plane once it landed on the water. It's possible they were knocked unconscious by the impact so did no try to exit before the craft sunk, but that is just speculation on my part.

It's hard to know at this point exactly what happened but based on what is known so far, I would not concluded that he failed to keep flying the plane.

Every licensed pilot (and it sounds like you are one) is trained in engine out procedures and is supposed to know the best glide speed and the glide ratio of the plane he is flying in order to be able to handle just such a situation. I can still hear my very first instructor's voice "fly the plane..fly the plane". During engine out on a single you become a glider pilot of a craft not designed for extended unpowered flight, but it can be flown to a safe landing in most cases.
 

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The pithy guidance I shall always remember from my first military instructor was, "I can teach a monkey to fly, but I can not teach him to think".

One cannot review an aircraft accident from afar, but from review of the radio transmission, this was a thinking pilot. He did not panic. He flew the airplane and when he ran out of altitude he set it down on the water as best he could unsder the circumstances.

With experienced aviators, emergency procedures become autonomic responses and it appears this pilot's responses were appropriate to the emergency he faced. Engine failure on take and off climb out is a very dicey proposition in a single engine a/c. Water is not a forgiving landing surface.
 

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Think of what might have happened had this been the summertime and
the beach was packed with people. This could have really been so much more . . .

John.
 
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