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Two more bodies recovered in midair crash off Long Beach

May 22, 2009 |  2:56 pm

Los Angeles County rescue divers today found the bodies of two more victims of Monday's midair collision off the coast of Long Beach, bringing the total number of people killed in the small-plane accident to three.

Divers discovered the first body Thursday in the 80-feet-deep waters about five miles from shore. They located a second victim at 8.30 a.m. today, as well as the cockpit section of one of the planes, said L.A. County Sheriff’s Deputy Aura Sierra. The third body was discovered at 12.30 p.m.

“Wreckage was recovered…and they’ve now recovered all three victims,” Sierra said.

The victims from the Cessna 172 were identified as James Chong Choo, 32, of Torrance, and Thomas Reinhold Ferrell, 31, of Westminster, said Ed Winter, spokesman for the county coroner's office.

Friends and relatives described Choo as an instructor at Aero Aviation Flight School in Long Beach and Ferrell as one of his students, who was visiting relatives in Westminster and preparing to move back to the United States from the Netherlands.

The name of the third victim had not yet been released. But the twin-engine Cessna 310 had reportedly been taken on a pleasure flight by the owner, Gary Gierczak, of Los Alamitos.

The cause of the collision is under investigation.

-- Ann M. Simmons