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  1. #1
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    Local Cycling Advocate Killed in Plane Crash

    I didn't see this posted elsewhere, but I heard on the news that there was a plane crash at the Long Beach airport today, and one of those killed was Mark Bixby, who was a local bicycle advocate in the area. I didn't know him personally (although maybe he's related to the Bixby family that has a long history in Long Beach) but apparently he was pretty involved in getting Long Beach to be more bike friendly.

    More info: Bking in LA story

    Very sad.

  2. #2
    Pedal pusher... alicestrong's Avatar
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    So sorry to hear this...condolences to the friends and family...
    May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

  3. #3
    Needs the magic spanner knowledgdropper's Avatar
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    Such a tragic loss. He and his family have such a history here. RIP.
    "Go that way, really fast. If something gets in your way- turn." - Charles DeMar

  4. #4
    Senior Member longbeachgary's Avatar
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    Cycling Advocates Killed in Plane Crash

    LONG BEACH - Five people died Wednesday and one man was critically injured after the twin-engine plane they were flying in crashed shortly after takeoff, erupting into a fireball at the Long Beach Airport.

    Four of the victims were identified as prominent real estate developers Tom Dean and Jeff Berger, bicycle advocate Mark Bixby, and Bruce Krall, who was Dean's banker. The pilot also died in the crash but has not yet been identified.

    The lone survivor, identified by sources as Pacific Retail Partners owner Mike Jensen, was rushed to Long Beach Memorial Medical Center where he remains in critical condition.

    The Beechcraft King Air, owned by Dean, crashed and burst into flames on the southwest portion of the airfield at 10:30 a.m., authorities said.

    Firefighters battled flames for about two minutes before using metal-cutting saws to pry open the twisted remains of the fuselage and free the survivor, said Long Beach Fire Department spokesman Steve Yamamoto.

    Authorities said the plane had taken off but was circling back for an unknown reason when it suddenly crashed and skidded across the field, leaving a trail of scorched debris.

    Witnesses described hearing a loud thud followed by a burst of fire and smoke.

    "I heard a bang and the building shook," said Rob Ryan, whose office is located about 600 feet from the crash. "I came out and the plane was completely engulfed in orange flames and black smoke. After it died down a bit you could see fire coming out of the cockpit. It was pretty horrifying."

    One witness, who asked not to be identified, said he saw the crash seconds after the aircraft hit the ground.

    "It was just a big ball of fire sliding across the grass," he said.

    Los Angeles County Coroner's Lt. Ed Winter said victims' identities

    A personal assistant to a passenger on the King Air twin turbo prop Beechcraft that crashed upon an attempt to return to Long Beach Airport on Wednesday, March 16, 2011 is overcome with emotion as she waits for more information. (Diandra Jay/Press-Telegram)were still being officially confirmed late Wednesday and it would likely take time due to the condition of the bodies.

    However Dean's spokesman, Mike Murchison, confirmed the well-known developer was aboard the plane and died in the crash the along with Berger, Krall and Bixby. Bixby, who worked for Jensen, is a member of one of the city's founding families, for which the Bixby Knolls neighborhood is named.

    Skiing trip to Utah
    Allan Crawford, a friend of Bixby, said the group was headed for Park City, Utah, to go skiing.

    Several distraught family members and friends, including Murchison and City Councilman Gary DeLong, rushed to Long Beach Fire Station 16, where the plan's

    Michael Jensen, president of Pacific Retail Partners was on the plane that crashed at the Long Beach Airport Wednesday morning. He is in critical condition. (Photo Courtesy Pacific Retail Partners)charred remains could be seen about 300 yards away.

    By mid-afternoon, coroner's investigators were on the scene pulling the burned bodies from the wreckage.

    Murchison also confirmed the plane was owned by Dean, who owns most of the Los Cerritos Wetlands in southeast Long Beach. Part of the wetlands was traded last year to the city of Long Beach in exchange for most of the city's public service yard in a controversial land swap.

    Berger is his business partner. Bixby is known especially for his bicycle advocacy in Long Beach and as recently as March 13 had talked about participating in the Tortuga 500, a 500-mile, 4-day bike trek from San Jose to Long Beach, on his Twitter account.

    Crawford said he had just gone

    A Beechcraft twin-engine prop plane burns Wednesday morning at Long Beach Airport after it crashed while taking off on a flight to Salt Lake City. ( Cecy Romero / Special to the Press-Telegram)bike riding with Bixby and other members of their regular riding group that morning. He and Bixby are members of "Off the Front," a bicycle advocacy group, and were working on a forming a new bicycle non-profit group.

    Bixby is survived by his wife, Theresa, and their three children, the oldest of whom is a junior in high school, Crawford said.

    "Mark just believed in the idea that cycling is a way to connect people and to connect communities," Crawford said. "He saw it as an avenue to improve lives for people throughout Long Beach and the world."
    Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster said he had a very heavy heart after hearing about the tragedy.

    "These were charismatic men that believed in Long Beach, made a real contribution and worked towards a better community," he said. "Our thoughts and prayers go to their children and their families in this time of unspeakable sadness."

    FAA investigating
    Federal Aviation Administration Spokesman Ian Gregor said that the aircraft was headed to Salt Lake City. He said that the FAA and National Transportation and Safety Board already had investigators at the crash site.

    Gregor said the plan crashed just north of runway 25 L, between Taxiway Bravo and Runway 16 R near the AirFlite facility.

    Authorities said was too early to tell where all the victims were located in the plane, including the area where the survivor was found, citing the on-going investigation.

    Both the FAA and NTSB will investigate the accident with the NTSB serving as the lead investigative agency, Gregor said.

    NTSB investigators usually post a preliminary report on the agency's website, www.ntsb.gov, within one to two weeks of an incident. However, it typically takes NTSB months to come up with a probable cause for accidents, Gregor explained.

    Airport Director Mario Rodriguez said the incident was a "tragedy beyond repair."

    "We did everything that could have been done," he said.

  5. #5
    Senior Member longbeachgary's Avatar
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    Prominent men's deaths stun city

    By Paul Eakins, Staff Writer
    Posted: 03/16/2011 08:02:15 PM PDT
    Updated: 03/17/2011 07:28:37 AM PDT



    Mark Bixby was on the plane that crashed at the Long Beach Airport Wednesday morning. He was killed along with four others.


    Related




    LONG BEACH - The tragic news of Wednesday's plane crash at Long Beach Airport grew only more shocking once the community learned who had been on the plane.
    Not only had Mark Bixby, a bicycle advocate and member of one of Long Beach's founding families, been killed, but so too were a pair of prominent developers who last year were part of a historic wetlands preservation deal.
    Tom Dean and Jeff Berger, the developers who were involved in last year's city land swap for the Los Cerritos Wetlands, and Bixby were among five people who died in Wednesday's crash. Friends and community leaders reflected on the trio Wednesday.
    "It's awful," said Mike Murchison, a spokesman for Dean and friend of the victims. "They were family men. They were fathers first and foremost. It's devastating."
    The other victims were Bruce Krall, Dean's banker and an Orange County resident, and a pilot whose name wasn't known, said.
    The community was still holding out hope that the lone survivor of the crash, Mike Jensen, the owner of Pacific Retail Partners in Long Beach, would survive.
    Multiple sources identified the men as the victims, but the Coroner's Office hadn't yet officially identified the bodies.
    Bixby, Dean and Berger were in their 40s and were married with children, as is Jensen, sources said. No details were available about Krall after his name was announced late Wednesday afternoon. Dean and Berger were best known for a
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    controversial wetlands exchange between their company, LCW Partners, and the city of Long Beach last year.
    LCW Partners traded 33.7acres of its 175-acre Los Cerritos Wetlands in southeast Long Beach for part of the city's public service yard along the east side of the Los Angeles River. The land swap was lauded by environmentalists and city officials as a way to put the wetlands in public hands for preservation and restoration, but critics said it was a giveaway of public assets.
    Jeff Berger



    Ironically, it was Bixby's previous company, the family-owned Bixby Land Co., that sold the wetlands to Dean and Berger three years ago.
    Bixby had since left that business and was working for Jensen's real estate company.
    Mark Bixby remembered
    It was the death of a Bixby, who was well-known around Long Beach, that particularly stunned the community.
    "I am saddened that an incredible human being that has done so much for this community has been taken from us at such a young age," said Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Randy Gordon, who said he has known Bixby for 17 years. "Mark Bixby has done so much for this community, and there was such a bright future for this unbelievably talented young man who was well-liked by so many people."
    Bixby was past president of Long Beach Rotary and was instrumental in raising money to build Rotary's Centennial Park at the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Junipero Avenue, Gordon said.
    While real estate and development were Bixby's career, bicycling was his passion.
    Bixby was director of the Long Beach Bike Festival and most recently was a vocal proponent of adding bike lanes to the planned new Gerald Desmond Bridge.
    "I had been working with Mark Bixby to ensure bicycle and pedestrian access to the new Gerald Desmond Bridge," City Councilwoman Suja Lowenthal said in a statement. "Among his many ideas to improve our community, I know this was very important to him, so I will work tirelessly toward the fulfillment of his vision as a fitting legacy for a person so committed to advocating for cyclists."
    Allan Crawford was a member of bicycle advocacy group Off the Front with Bixby and the pair were in the process of starting a nonprofit bicycle organization, he said.
    "Mark just believed in the idea that cycling is a way to connect people and to connect communities," Crawford said. "He saw it as an avenue to improve lives for people throughout Long Beach and the world."
    Crawford said that he went bike riding with Bixby and other members of their regular riding group early Wednesday morning just hours before the plane crash.
    He said that Bixby was proud of his prominent family's history but was "modest" and "unassuming."
    "He was the most giving person that I know," Crawford said. "He would do anything for you and for the community."
    Crawford said Bixby is survived by his wife, Theresa, and three children.
    Tom Dean, Jeff Berger
    While Bixby was well known around town, Dean and Berger kept a much lower profile.
    Dean lived in Naples and Berger was a Manhattan Beach resident.
    Gordon said that in his 17 years in Long Beach, "I've seen Tom (Dean) at maybe two or three events."
    "Tom, he was a very quiet, behind-the-scenes guy," Gordon said. "There's no doubt he's been a very successful business person and quite an entrepreneur."
    Murchison and others said that Dean and Berger were both family men.
    "I can't express enough how much time they spent with their family," said Murchison, who said that Dean had four sons and Berger had three children.
    Former City Manager Jerry Miller said he got to know Berger in particular while working for the developers' company.
    "What a fine guy. Just a really good human being," Miller said of Berger. "Jeff was an exemplary family man."
    He noted that Dean and Berger had been meeting with the Rivers and Mountains Conservancy and the California State Coastal Conservancy to work out a deal to put the rest of the wetlands into public hands.
    "He (Berger) was really working toward the right objective, to make that property available to the public," Miller said.
    Councilman Gary DeLong shared that view of the developers, but said their deaths put the wetlands' future at risk. "These were the first landowners that were willing and able to work with the city to begin the process of moving the wetlands into the public domain," DeLong said. "It wouldn't have happened without those guys, and now I'm concerned. Obviously, (the plane crash) was a personal tragedy, but it's a setback for the city as well."

  6. #6
    Pedal pusher... alicestrong's Avatar
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    May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

  7. #7
    Senior Member longbeachgary's Avatar
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    He is the Bixby family - Bixby Knolls, New Bixby, Bixby Knolls Park, Bixby Busniness Plaza etc.

  8. #8
    Senior Member longbeachgary's Avatar
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    Thanks, can we merge them?

  9. #9
    Pedal pusher... alicestrong's Avatar
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    C-Bad?
    May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

  10. #10
    Administrator CbadRider's Avatar
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    The threads are merged.
    Quote Originally Posted by toddles View Post
    So Tom only hires people that are nutty? Is part of the requirement to be a moderator on this site is that you have to be nuts??
    Forum Guidelines *click here*

  11. #11
    Old Road Racer Cleave's Avatar
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    Hi,

    I knew Mark from bicycle racing and bicycle advocacy in Long Beach. I was shocked when I heard the news report last night as I was getting ready to leave for my club's Board of Directors meeting. A terrible loss for his family, our cycling community, and our sport. RIP Mark.
    Thanks.
    Cleave
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  12. #12
    Body by Guinness cjbruin's Avatar
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    Went to High School with him. A very good guy. Sad news. There is a memorial service for him and the others on the peninsula on Friday evening.
    Fredo, you're my older brother and I love you...but don't ever take sides, with anyone, against the family again...ever.

  13. #13
    Pedal pusher... alicestrong's Avatar
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    May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

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