Westside : Search for Missing Pilot Is Called Off

The Coast Guard suspended the search Wednesday morning for a pilot feared dead in Tuesday's crash of a twin-engine jet in Santa Monica Bay, authorities said.

The pilot has been identified as John Drust of Ventura, said Coast Guard spokeswoman Petty Officer Liz Brannan. Drust, 47, was chief pilot for Oxnard's Aspen Helicopters and is believed to have been the only person in the plane.

The Coast Guard, in a joint operation with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, called off the search for Drust's body about 7:45 a.m. Wednesday, almost 17 hours after the wreckage of the aircraft was spotted 16 miles southwest of Los Angeles International Airport.

Officials said they had searched about 100 square miles of the Pacific on Tuesday and throughout the night, utilizing several boats and a helicopter. "If [Drust] was on the surface, we would have found him," Brannan said.

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