Coast Guard Gives Up Search for Ventura Pilot

The Coast Guard on Wednesday abandoned its search for John Drust, a Ventura resident and pilot whose plane crashed in the Pacific Ocean two days ago, authorities said.

Drust was flying a twin-engine turbo-prop airplane alone to San Diego on a survey mission when it crashed in deep waters about 15 miles from Marina del Rey, officials said. Drust, 47, chief pilot for Oxnard's Aspen Helicopters Inc., was a former Air Force flier and Vietnam veteran.

The Coast Guard recovered parts of the plane's fuselage and a few personal effects, but did not recover the body, which they suspect is below more than 1,000 feet of water, authorities said.

"It appeared the plane hit the water hard and broke up," said Dan Larson, chief of the Coast Guard in Long Beach.

The Coast Guard spent 10 hours searching for Drust on Tuesday and another three hours Wednesday before giving up, Larson said. Authorities said they do not know why the plane crashed.

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