Ojai, CA Destructive Flooding, Jan 1969
5 BODIES FOUND AT CALIF. CREEK.
W. VA. SEABEE MISSING.
Ojai, Calif. (AP) -- ALong the debris-choked banks of Sespe Creek, the clearing sky disclosed a young boy's body .. then the bodies of two more ... then the lifeless forms of a sheriff's deputy and a forest ranger.
It was feared five more would be found dead today.
These were the last party of six young hikers, their adult leader and three men who tried tragically to rescue them from the rain-flooded area.
A survivor of the group, SCOTT ECKERSLEY, 28, told authorities that he was washed ashore after a bulldozer stalled as they had attempted to cross the swift stream late Monday.
The bodies found Wednesday were identified as those of Deputy Sheriff CHESTER LARSON, 34, a veteran outdoorsman and father of two sons; U. S. Forest Ranger JAMES A. GREENHILL, 37, who was married only last month; JOHN RAUH, 14, DANIEL SALISBURY, 12, and EDWARD SALISBURY, 10, the latter three of Canoga Park.
Still missing were ROBERT CASSOL, 14; his brother RONALD, 13; FRANK DONATO, 13; and Navy Seabee Chief Petty Officer ROBERT SEARS, a Vietnam veteran who was driving the rescue bulldozer when it stalled in the rampaging stream.
ECKRSLEY said SEARS, 42, son of Mr. and Mrs. Herley M. Sears of Webster County, W. Va., was the first to be swept away.
Elsewhere, as skies dried over California, heavy property and crop damage was counted. Southern California's storm damage was estimated at $3 million.
There were 47 storm-related deaths.
The storm turbulence was blamed for light plane crash in which three Texans died on a mountainside near Banning.
At least 29 traffic deaths in southern California were caused by the storm, authorities said.
In the foothills of Angeles National Forest, northeast of Los Angeles, 15 homes were destroyed by floods and rockslides in the Azusa-Glendora area.
Charleston Daily Mail West Virginia 1969-01-23