August 10, 1947
Ladera Park was filled with picnickers, friends and families enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon. One group was comprised of co-workers from Douglas Aircraft. Among them, George Porter, 33, of 531 Richmond Street, El Segundo. Porter decided to leave the party, but not entirely—he returned to Ladera Park later in the afternoon in his two-seater plane and buzzed the ampitheatre down at tree-top level. Three times he circled the bowl, terrorizing those on the ground. Recreation Director George T. Blair squinted at the craft to get the numbers so he could report the reckless pilot. But there was no need: on the fourth go-round, one wing hit a branch and down into the ravine came George Porter and his flying death machine.
Instantly killed were Porter, Mrs. Eula Walters, 29, of 1731 West 51st Place and two-year-old Myrna Lynn Coffey, of 1135 ½ E. 68th Street. The baby was in her mother’s arms when wreckage from the plane hit them both. Also injured was Mrs. Walters’ 4-month-old, Kenneth Dale, whose baby buggy was spattered with engine oil. Mrs. Walters and Mrs. Coffey had just been on the croquet grounds, where their husbands heard the impact and raced to discover the horror.
Porter’s passenger, wife Brownie Belle Porter, survived the crash and is in fairly good condition at Harbor General, with a fractured collar bone, mild concussion, dislocated hip and possible internal injuries.
Captain Sewell Griggers of the Sheriff’s aero squad is attempting to determine from what airport Porter took off, while Vermont subdivision deputy Sheriffs James E. Christian and W.J. Grater examined the wreckage.
Suggested reading: The Illustrated History of McDonnell Douglas Aircraft : From Cloudster to Boeing