REGION : Search Continues for Doctors' Plane

Despite below-freezing temperatures and up to 10 feet of snow, the search continued for two South Bay doctors and a friend after their plane apparently disappeared en route to Mammoth Lakes last week, a Civil Air Patrol spokesman said Wednesday.

The single-engine plane, piloted by San Pedro doctor Eric Kim, left Torrance Airport March 23, stopped at Van Nuys Airport and then took off for Mammoth Lakes at about 6 p.m.

Kim is an anesthesiologist at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena.

Also on board was Rolling Hills doctor Mauro Wolinsky, a gastroenterologist at St. Mary's Hospital in Long Beach, and Kathryn Muller, who works for a lender and boarded the plane in Van Nuys.

Kim had not filed a flight plan, officials say, but he was in contact with flight stations on the ground until 7:48 p.m.

When the trio failed to show up for a Thursday dinner with friends in Mammoth, the friends contacted authorities at 2 a.m. Friday, said Maj. Wyn Selwyn, spokesman for the Civil Air Patrol.

Officials say that if Kim had filed a flight plan, a search for the plane would have begun automatically 30 minutes past the estimated time of arrival. The flight from Van Nuys to Mammoth normally takes about two hours, Selwyn said.

Selwyn said that by Wednesday, volunteers had flown about 220 flights over a 2,500-square-mile area searching for the plane.

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