Believed to Be Long Beach Trio : 3 Bodies Found in Wreckage of Small Plane on Mt. Baldy

Times Staff Writer

Search and rescue teams on Monday discovered the bodies of three people in the wreckage of a small plane that crashed at the 8,900-foot level of Mt. Baldy, authorities said.

The plane, a single-engine, four-seat Piper Archer, was reported missing Sunday evening after it failed to arrive at Long Beach Airport on a flight from Las Vegas.

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department officials said they had not positively identified the three victims and were still investigating. But other authorities said they believe the three were pilot Mony Ly, 24, of Long Beach and passengers Mondara Kong, 22, and Paula Leang, 16 or 17, also of Long Beach.


Ly had leased the plane from Cal State Flying Club of Long Beach on Saturday for a weekend pleasure trip to Las Vegas, a spokesman for the club said. “He had been a member of our club for a year and leased one of our planes an average of three or four times a week,” the spokesman said.

The plane left McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas at 3:30 p.m. Sunday and was due to arrive at Long Beach at about 5:30, the spokesman said.

Emergency locater transmitter signals emitted by the downed aircraft were picked up Sunday night by a satellite monitored by the Federal Aviation Administration, which notified the Civil Air Patrol and the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, said Civil Air Patrol spokeswoman Maj. Peggy Beelby.

The signals were traced to the rugged northern slope of Mt. Baldy. Ground crews and a sheriff’s helicopter dispatched to the area at dawn were hampered by turbulent wind, clouds and rain, said Sgt. Dennis Casey, a sheriff’s spokesman.

“We spotted the plane at 1:30 p.m.,” he said. “The fuselage seemed to be intact but the wings were badly damaged.”

The cause of the crash is under investigation.