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Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

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Pomona Boys Die in Crash of Stolen Plane

June 3, 1960, Plane Crash

June 2, 1960, Plane Crash

June 3, 1960: James A. McDonald, 14, and his 12-year-old brother, Thomas, of Pomona took their dog and ran away from home, determined to steal a plane – destination unknown. Several months before, someone had caught them hot-wiring a plane at Cable Airport in Upland, but on this night they were successful in starting a Piper  Tri-Pacer owned by a construction company.  About 10 minutes after taking off, the plane crashed in a recreation yard at Emerson Junior High at Lincoln and Towne avenues in Pomona, killing the boys and their dog. They were "typical youngsters, no more interested in flying that others," their mother, Katy, said.

June 3, 1960, Plane Crash

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Comments (2)

All these years later, and such a touching and tragic story.

These youngsters were so committed to adventure, as most kids are, yet they didn't know what they were risking.

My heart goes out to their family and friends.

I remember the incident very clearly. I lived just a few blocks south of Emmerson Junior High. I remember hearing the crash and seeing smoke coming from Emmerson. I jumped on my bike and rode to the crash scene. The only thing I saw was a dead dog laying just west of the burning plane to which I found out later belonged to the two young boys who had stoled the plane.


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