‘Pomona Boys Die in Crash of Stolen Plane’

While on LATimes.com searching for “Pomona,” I found a story, recently reprinted on its Daily Mirror L.A. history page, about a 1960 incident in which two brothers who attended Fremont Junior High hotwired a plane at Cable Airport, took off and fatally crashed into a recreation yard at Emerson Junior High. Read the story here.

Anyone remember this incident?

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  • Ren

    I saw the plane after the crash. It was on the northwest corner of the school next to the teachers parking lot right next to Towne Ave. There is a small classroom there now where the plane crashed. Some people say that the engine is still buried there.

  • James Rodriguez, Fontana

    One thing that caught my eye about the Times article was that back in the day, they used to print your exact address, not like today. Now it’s only “the 1900 block of …..”

    [Yeah, that was standard style back then. We give people a little more privacy now. — DA]

  • Jim Stillinger

    I was in high school at the time and lived one short block directly south of Emerson when this happened. I saw the scene when the fire was still burning and it appeared a hand was visible in the burning wreckage. There was a cover over an object nearby. Not one of my best of life experiences.

  • John Ochoa

    I went to school with both boys. Tommy McDonald (I think that was his name) and I were in the same grade. They lived not too far from us. They mostly kept to themselves. I remember that they liked pumpernickel bread sandwiches — funny how after all of these years I remember that detail. I do remember that awful day, and how badly I felt — sick really. Today we would receive counseling to deal with our feelings, but back them no one said anything — not a thing. The boys were here one day and gone the next. I sometimes wonder even today what would have become of the boys — they were very bright, but loners. Even now I am sad thinking about their short lives. God bless them and their families.

  • George Seibel

    Wow, I distinctly remember this crash. I was four years old, and lived just to the east of Emerson. It was a hot night, and my bedroom windows were open. I was woken up by the sirens, which were loud as hell because I was only a couple hundred feet from San Bernardino Avenue. They went on for so long that I started crying. The next day, my mom was telling me about it, and how my dad had said “that plane’s going to crash” because of the sound of the motor reving before it hit.

    At the time, the kids were “teenagers” to me, so they seemed very old. Now, looking at their pictures, I’m struck that they were really just kids. What a tragedy.

    It shows you how much times have changed. I can’t imagine kids today being able to hotwire anything, or escaping their parent’s clutches without someone calling out the National Guard. They’d never get close to a plane, and even if they did, they’d never get it started, much less get it off the ground. It would be too complicated and have too many security devices.

  • Bill Seibel

    Thanks for posting this. I searched the web for it back in 2005 and came up empty (but I did find some interesting tid-bits about Emerson).

    I was living about 1/4 mile to the northeast of Emerson at the time but I was only 10 months old so I don’t remember it. But my mother never forgot it and talked about it a few times when I was 6 or 7. She said the earth shook when the plane hit. At the time she seemed to be warning me not to go stealing any planes. Now I think it was more of a “but for the grace of god” thing. The plane easily could have hit our house as we were pretty much on a line between Cable and Emerson.

    Odd thing was, 11 years later a couple of my schoolmates rode their bike up to Cable and were nosing around where they shouldn’t have been. A security guard rousted them, read them the riot act and they went on their way. Better ending.