Montrose Search and Rescue team members Capt. Janet Henderson, Lynda Daniels and Mike Leum responded to a call on Feb. 5 for help in searching for a missing aircraft, its pilot and two passengers. The Montrose team was among the search and rescue teams that found the bodies on a Catalina Island mountaintop the morning of Feb. 6.
Los Angeles County Coroner’s office has identified the victims as pilot Mark Hogland, 48, from Dana Point, and his passengers Marshall D. Goldberg, 39, from Lithia, Fla. and Amy Marie Judd, 25, from Boise, Idaho. According to the coroner, they died as a result of traumatic injuries.
The initial call came into the Avalon Sheriff’s Department from Hogland’s fiancé when he did not return to Orange County’s John Wayne Airport at the scheduled time. Hogland offered sightseeing tours around Catalina Island.
“He and his two passengers took off from the Catalina airport around 4:30 p.m. on Thursday (Feb. 5),” Leum said.
The trio were expected back in Orange County shortly after 5 p.m. but did not return.
“All we knew was [the plane] was somewhere between Catalina and the Orange County area,” Leum said.
“The Coast Guard searched throughout the night with negative results,” he added.
Montrose Search and Rescue members joined other law enforcement and search organizations in a massive search of the island.
Leum first got the call from a skipper of a Homeland Security boat that was in the area and then another call from the pilot of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s helicopter Air Five.
“At first they wanted to pick us up at Verdugo Hills Hospital but it was too socked in [with fog],” he said.
They finally connected with Air Five and were flown to Catalina. The weather was a factor in the rescue with rain and foggy conditions covering most of the island.
While search and rescue crews worked the land, U.S. Coast Guard and Homeland Security continued to work the sea and Air Five searched by air.
“A fog lifted for a brief time off a ridge and [Air Five] spotted the crash,” Leum said.
When search teams arrived, they discovered that there were three victims and that all had succumbed to the crash.
“It was a very rugged and remote area,” Leum explained.
The bodies could not be moved until the L.A. County Coroner’s office had responded.
Leum said that Montrose team members waited for the coroner for several hours but had to leave due to the worsening weather conditions. Deputies stayed with the bodies overnight until the weather improved and they could be airlifted out on Saturday.
The investigation into the crash is ongoing.