Coast Guard

2 Missing in Small Plane After Departing From Santa Catalina Island

A pilot-in-training and flight instructor went missing in a single-engine Cessna 172 after departing from Catalina Island airport over the weekend.

The Coast Guard and Federal Aviation Administration launched a search Monday after the four-seater plane did not land at the Van Nuys Airport as scheduled. The Coast Guard suspended its search Tuesday.

Family members hired two helicopters to join the search.

The small plane took off from Catalina Island and was expected at Van Nuys Airport Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. 

The FAA said in preliminary reports that two people were aboard.

The training pilot's family identified him as Edmond Haronian. They said he was to arrived at Van Nuys Airport with his flight instructor from Encore Flight Academy.

Haronian posted pictures to social media on Saturday, the day the plane went missing. 

"Since Saturday, which is May 28, we have not had any news from him. We have not heard from him — no calls, no texts. We are very worried," Saeed Majdipour, the pilot's brother-in-law, said.

Haronian's brother-in-law said the family became worried when Sunday came, and no one had heard from the pilot.

They contacted the flight academy, and employees confirmed that Haronian and his instructor were missing. 

The family was upset as the academy did not contact them right away.

Haronian's Mercedes remained in the parking lot over the weekend.

Encore Flight Academy did not immediately return calls for comment. 

The U.S. Coast Guard released photos as the team searched Monday evening. The team spent 10 hours searching around Catalina Island, and didn't find any signs of wreckage or debris.

Haronian's last call was to his sons shortly before 1 p.m. when he told them he would be taking off.

The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search and said it would resume if wreckage from the plane was discovered.

Haronian's family said it hired private helicopters to assist with the search.

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