Family and Friends Remember Victims of Cerritos Plane Crash - NBC Southern California

Family and Friends Remember Victims of Cerritos Plane Crash

25th Anniversary of Cerritos Plane Crash



    Be the Toast of the Breeders’ Cup

    On this day 25 years ago, an Aeromexico jet collided with a small single-engine plane over Cerritos, killing 82 people.

    On Wednesday, family and friends gathered at a memorial ceremony to remember their loved ones. City officials read the names of the victims and laid a wreath, marking the 25th anniversary of the air disaster.

    Some residents remember that day like it was yesterday.

    "I just heard a loud noise and I thought it was a car crash out on Artesia Blvd., " said Randy Economy. "And, I went out to the backyard and I looked out back, and I literally saw the jet come right at me."

    Family and Friends Remember Victims of Cerritos Plane Crash

    [LA] Family and Friends Remember Victims of Cerritos Plane Crash
    25 years ago today, a deadly air disaster killed 87 people. It is considered LA metro's worst ever aviation disaster.
    (Published Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2011)

    The jet plummeted into Randy's residential neighborhood alongside Carmenita Avenue, moments after the jet was clipped by a small plane. All 67 aboard the aircraft died, along with 15 more on the ground.

    "You were either dead or you didn't have a scratch on you," said Economy.

    Then-L.A. Deputy Sheriff Tom Laing helped set up the perimeter of the crash on the ground.

    "People would reach out to me and say I found a part of a plane in my backyard or say, I found a young person's body part in my garage," said Laing.

    Reverend Don Koepke ministered to a wife and mother who was returning from the store when the jetliner smashed into her house, claiming 3 members of her family.

    "She let out a moan like I've never heard and never will hear again," he said.

    There were also many people waiting for loved ones to return home.

    "I had just gotten out of the shower. I was dressed and the phone rang. And, it was my cousin's wife on the phone," said a tearful Lorraine Ayala.

    "You know, 25 years is a long time to heal and you go through the healing process, but it's never the same," said Veronica Gutierrez, who lost her mother and brother in the crash.

    The air disaster led to improvements in aviation safety, including adding new electronics to prevent mid-air collisions.

    Follow NBCLA for the latest LA news, events and entertainment: Twitter: @NBCLA // Facebook: NBCLA