Catalina helicopter crash

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Air Rescue 5 and LASD Ocean Rescue III are on the scene at the crash site on Catalina Island (Courtesy of Special Enforcement Bureau - LASD)

A pilot found dead after the helicopter he was flying crash landed on Catalina Island has been identified as 60-year-old Philip Su Chu Yang of Palos Verdes Estates.

Yang, who was identified by authorities on Wednesday, June 26, was piloting a Robinson R44 helicopter from Torrance to Catalina when, for unknown reasons, the aircraft crash landed on a hillside on the west end of the island, authorities said.

The aircraft was reported missing about an hour before the discovery of the wreckage about 10 a.m. June 18, said Sgt. Craig Harman of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Yang was known to take recreational flights from Torrance to Catalina Island, in which he would fly over before returning to Torrance Municipal Airport, Harman said last week.

The Department received a call from the Air Force Coordination Rescue Center after Yang hadn’t returned to Torrance for 16 hours, Harman said.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board were conducting an investigation into the cause of the crash. An accident investigator with Torrance-based Robinson Helicopter Company was assisting in that investigation, the company said.

The smoldering fire was contained to the aircraft, said Sky Cornell of the Los Angeles County Fire Department, which assisted in the search.

Yang was the sole occupant in the helicopter.

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