I never will forget it, it was one of those cloudless, perfect La Jolla July summer days and all I could think about was doing a little bit of body whomping at WindanSea with a friend of mind. As we were walking to the pumphouse from Big Rock, a plane flew by a bit low, not uncommon for those days. Then it banked, rounded again and did some stunts, catching the attention of the beach-goers until suddenly it did a loop and crashed into the sea between Big Rock and WindanSea.
For a moment, the beach activity came to a dead rest. The beach was stunned – you could hear a pin drop. Even the shore break was silenced it seemed. I glanced down the shoreline and the crowd was all standing pointing out to a ring of white water about 150 yards off shore. A few surfers started paddling out to the crash. Within moments a helicopter and Coast Guard boat appeared. How they got there that fast, still amazes me to this date.
As I found out later, it was actor Phillip G. Bent and folksinger Peter Sachse both 26, were killed that Tuesday day when their converted World War II training plane crashed after making a series of low passes over WindanSea Beach, showing off to surfers and saying “Hi” to their wives, actress Linda Opie Brent, and actress, Salli Sachse. Both were sunbathing at WindanSea when the tragedy happened.
They were doing loops when they lost control and went down. Pete drowned after getting tangled up in some rope in the cockpit. Pege hit his head and died instantly.
Bent was of La Jolla and the pilot and owner of the converted AT6 military plane. He appeared in a few movies as “Ghost in the Invisible Bikini” and “Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine.” He was co-owner of Chart House restaurants located in San Diego, Newport Beach, and Aspen, Colo.
Saachse was a folk singer and composer.
La Jolla beach life played an important role in the lives of Salli Sachse and Linda Lampert. The two beauty queens were hanging out at the Windansea shack in the early 1960s with their surfer and surfer-girl friends one day in 1964 when the two La Jollans who created the “Hot Curl” cartoon strip approached them. Next thing they knew they were playing bikini clad girls in surfer movies.
Cynthia w. Shelley says
Sitting on the beach that day, next to Linda. Never so schocked. Salli was out of town filming. No one watching could believe it. I think the plane is at the Areospace Museum, donated by Buzzy.
tyler stalter says
Was the plane for sure if you recovered?
Have been searching for my birth father and have come to know that it is the late PG Bent. Does anyone have any info on the girl he was dating in high school who I believe is my birth mother? She was referred to as BJ. Last name Wilson.
At one point PG was dating Kathy Irwin, whose father was manager of the La Valencia Hotel.
I hung out with both of them and I’m not aware of any BJ Wilson (the name sounds like a bad joke). Kathy Irwin later married Mark Poitras, who also ended up dead (car crash).
Catherine Euschen says
Thanks for the reply, but according to the records , last name Wilson was my birth mom. Friends spoke of a BJ as P. G.s girlsfriend. There is a BJ Wilson at Mission Bay High age is 16, in 1958/59 which is correct. I spoke with a Marilyn Wilson’s brother and have ruled her out.. my search continues. Any news is soooo appreciated. And the search goes on.
I know Cathy Eischen very well and it has been confirmed that Phillip Bent was her father and other family members totally agree on that and all Cathy wants to know is more about her mother! If anyone knows her birth Mom please respond to her or you can respond to me, my name is Brian Logan and I am known for starting the company Logan Earth Ski one of the biggest names in skateboarding history, so if you can help us that would be awesome!! Cathy was adopted by a great family and has had a great life ever since!
i witnessed a banner carrier crash like 40′ from the beach near turtle rock around 1981
Sally Knight says
I was there with my brother and mom. I was 5 and Evan was 12 . He swam out to help along with Buzzy Sipes (who made it into the paper as a hero) my Dad. I’ll never forget it
Lucky to have known you says
RIP Lynn Clark
Gary Baylor says
In the story, the name PG Bent, was misspelled as Brent. Also, Linda Opie Brent as will.
The correct name was Linda Opie Bent.
I new both of them well, and attended LJHS with both of them in the 50’s.
If you can, please fix.
Joanne Danssaert says
Did you know Pege’s high school girlfriend? Last name Wilson? If so please email me
Joanne Danssaert says
Joanne, Sorry about taking so long, I just saw your email on Saturday. There was a girl in the class of ’60 at LJHS. Her maiden name was Marilyn Wilson. I do not have any info on her at all.
If you call the alumni office at LJHS (Phone Number – 858-551-9871 and speak to Alicia Snook.
She should be able to help you. If that does not work, you can call me at (504) 439 – 1941.
Good Luck. Gary Baylor…
Gail Patt says
I have the 1960 Year Book. Marilyn Wilson’s birth date is 07-11-1942, if that is any help in trying to find her. It does show a nickname for her as Mailena, so not sure if this might be the BJ referred to. Seems not, unless she changed schools and dropped the “nickname.”
J Ferry says
Where is Linny Soref and Linda Johnson Hasley?
kirk brown says
I was there talking to a cop on a motorcycle
when a plane came up low turned crashed the cop
was going to ticket me for something I said
to him hey that plane just crashed he turned
and stared that was it for me I think that,s
why the coastgard got there so fast kirk
Jamie Nay says
Superman and Linda Opie
Jack used to casually remark, “I’m Superman,”. He’d laugh, but I think he really believed it. He was a strong guy. He didn’t sleep a lot (“Cuts into my drinking time,”). His mother had home movies of Jack at 4…helping the Bekins movers pack up their Kalmia house to move to Pearl Harbor…Jack was in his red overalls, with suspenders…a slingshot in the back pocket…carrying a chair in either arm…Superman at work.
A lot of his friends felt likewise. Melinda Merryweather once remarked that if she were in trouble, Jack would get her first call. I can’t tell you how many times the phone would ring after midnight. Someone needed help. A new West End bartender couldn’t work the register. Rakestraw needed a loan. Someone’s car had broken down in Redlands (that would be me). Superman would grumble. He might even curse. But he always got up. He really was Superman.
This is when I find out I’m related to Linda Opie, Cameron Boogie Lambert, Martha Washington, Robert E. Lee, Light Horse Harry. Assorted Fitzhughs and Custisses. The entire lee family of Virginia. It is right out of Charles Dickens or Walt Disney’s ‘The Parent Trap’. Instead of Hayley Mills, this chapter featured Yours Truly, Jamie Nay.
March 2003. 1 AM. The phone is ringing. Lynn Clark is on the phone. “Is Jack there? I need help,”. Grumble. Curse. “Yeah?” “God damn it,”. “Yeah, I’ll be right there,”. More cursing. “Boop, get up. You have to drive me to George Boaz’s house,”.
Lynn Clark was housesitting Mrs. Boaz on Bellevue and needed help getting Mrs. Boaz back in bed.
I had known of the Boaz family for years. Boaz is a strange name. Not like Smith or Jones. My Great Grandmother was Maggie Olivia Boaz. She lived in Fulton, Kentucky.
I once asked George Boaz about the name similarities and he said, “I don’t know…we’re from Fulton, Kentucky…”.
So there we were…1:30 AM…in the Boaz home in Bird Rock. Jack was helping Lynn (who lated helped me in ways that I will always be grateful) get Mrs. Boaz back in bed. I’m in the living room, checking out the furniture to see if anything looked familiar.
Oddly enough, they had the exact same French Provencial dining set as my family. And the same bedroom set as my grandparents, John and Charlene McNeilly, had. Southerners in California.
A few days later, I asked Lynn how Mrs. Boaz was. OK. I then mentioned I might be related. Her reply? “Well in that case, you’re related to Linda Opie too,”.
Linda Opie? Are you kidding me? The star of ‘Muscle Beach Party,” “Beach Blanket Bingo,” and ‘Fireball 2000’? My reason for doing 200 daily situps the summer of 1970, to prepare for sorority rush at the University of Tennessee? So I’d look like the girls in the Frankie and Annette movies we used to watch at the Whittwood Theater, in Whittier, California?
I checked the Boaz family books. Sure enough…it was all there. My grandfather, John Thurmond McNeilly, was born in 1905, in Fulton. His cousin McFall Richard Boaz had been born a month earlier. The 2 boys were raised together. My grandfather left Fulton in 1929 and settled in Los Angeles. He sold insurance in Beverly Hills and Bing and Dixie Crosby were some of his clients. McFall Boaz went to Annapolis, had a Naval career. Settled in San Diego and married a lady named Kathro Lee. She had a young son named George. Kathro Lee and Linda Opie’s mother were Lee cousins. When the Lee family sees George Washington on a $1.00 bill, they think “Hi cuz,”. Talk about American royalty.
A definite La Jolla small world.
A month before, February 2003, Jack’s son John was visiting, with his boys Johnny and Shane. 10 year old Shane Macpherson was checking out the beer can collection and spied the Popeye Spinach can placed among the Lucky Lager and Happy Hops cans. Johnny Macpherson started laughing and said “He thinks he’s Popeye”.
Popeye…Superman…what’s the difference?
Able to leap tall buildings in a single Mac Meda bound…
And speaking of Super heroes…Comic Con is this weekend! Come on out…Coral Inn Mac Meda uberchild (13 year old Richard Friend might have occupied a bar stool during the summer of 1979) is one of the starring cartoonists!!!! Mac Meda would be pretty proud of Richard Friend!!!!
Dave Osborn says
I was at the Wind & Sea parking lot when Bent & Sachse flew over the shack at what seemed like only of the altitude of the parking lot…that got everybody’s attention. My recollection was that they then shot up rolled over then nosed dived towards the ocean maybe 75 yards north of the surfers waiting for waves. I figured it was a stunt pilot as it was way radical. They started to level out just above the water when a wing clipped the water and the plane did a flip like roll into the water. Some surfers started to paddle over to help but before they could get there the plane had gone under. I recall a real feeling of helplessness and disbelief.
A lot of crazy stuff happened at Wind an Sea but this had to take the cake, I don’t know what they where thinking but the price was high.
tyler stalter says
Hello I would like to talk to you in regards to the Windansea aircraft crash my email is tylerstalter (at) hotmail.com thank you!
Dave Osborn is no longer around. He passed about a year ago
1. PG Bent was the brother of Buzzy Bent.
2. The first Chart House was in Aspen, Colorado. Joey Cabell and Buzzy Bent primary owners. Hawaiian Ronald Patterson worked there as a waiter (fact check??).
3. Ronald Patterson lived in Alta, Utah and was the first Hawaiian to ski.
Cindy shelley says
Ronald Patterson went to LJHigh for a year in the 50,s.
Kristen. Sachse says
My name is Kristen Sachse. Pete Sachse is my Dad. I did not know him. It’s complicated. Can you all, please tell me about the kind of guy hdd we was? His personality, character, traits & defects?? I d love to hear anything that would help me know him better .
Thank you SO much
Gary Vix says
I knew Pete Sachse at Fallbrook High School. He was a senior (1957-58) when I was freshman, that said, I have only positive memories of him. If you have not heard from others who knew him during his Fallbrook years, I can provide the names of several former students who knew him well. I prefer not to have their names published on this site because I have not asked for their permission.