Choppy Seas Halt Search for 3 Who Crashed on Training Flight

From a Times Staff Writer

Choppy seas forced suspension of a search Monday afternoon for an Orange County flight instructor and two students apparently killed in the crash of a light plane off the Newport Beach pier Sunday night, authorities said.

Missing and presumed dead are 38-year-old Benigno Villa of Costa Mesa, Barry King of Newport Beach and instructor Phillip Teffley of Irvine, U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Joseph Hartline said Monday.

Teffley was an experienced training pilot for Aero Flight Center, according to the manager of the flight school and aircraft rental facility at Orange County’s John Wayne Airport.

The manager, who declined to give her name, said the instructor had taken the two students up in the single-engine Piper Archer for night-time training required to obtain a private pilot’s license.


The four-seater plunged into the water about one-half mile offshore at 11:14 p.m. Sunday, Newport Beach police said.

Aided by floodlights, two Coast Guard vessels and a helicopter conducted a night search of a 75-square-mile area offshore, turning up landing gear and seats of the aircraft, Petty Officer James Chiunate said. Also found were papers floating in the water, including a flight manual containing registration information.