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3 Victims of Plane Crash Near Airport Identified

A 67-year-old pilot and her son and daughter have been identified as the victims of a fiery airplane crash near Long Beach Municipal Airport that was witnessed by a crowd of thousands.

Rita Buhl, the pilot, and Thomas Buhl, 40, both of Long Beach, and Eileen Grace Buhl, 25, of Santa Monica, were killed in the crash of the six-seat airplane Saturday, Fire Department spokesman Bob Caldon said. The Cessna 210 Centurion, bound for Palm Desert, took off about 12:25 p.m. and was about 150 feet off the ground when its engine sputtered and died. The plane veered right and nose-dived into a one-story building 100 yards past the runway, exploding, Caldon said.

The cause of the crash had not been determined. Caldon said little remained of the craft.

A crowd of several thousand people waiting for the maiden flight of a new McDonnell Douglas C-17 transport plane witnessed the crash.

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