Transcribed from Boca Raton News, Boca Raton, FL, June 8, 1971, p. 2:

50 died; nobody blamed


DUARTE, Calif. (UPI) — Neither pilot may have been at fault when an Air West DC9 jetliner and a Marine fighter collided at 12,000 feet, killing 50 persons, a federal investigator said Monday.

George Baker, head of the National Transportation Safety Board team, said the planes “may have collided without any violation” of flying rules.

But the sold [sic] survivor of Sunday’s collision, a Marine radar man, said the commercial airliner with 49 persons aboard hit his F4 Phantom jet.

Lt. Christopher E. Shiess [sic], 24, Salem, Ore., copilot of the fighter-bomber, said he and the pilot sighted the DC9 seconds before the collision.

As Schiess spoke at a news conference, helicopters brought the bodies of the victims, including a 3-week-old infant, from the side of a rugged mountain 40 miles from downtown Los Angeles.