Santa Monica Bay, CA TV Host Killed in Crash, Mar 2006
'PRESS YOUR LUCK' HOST, WIFE KILLED IN PLANE CRASH.
Santa Monica Bay, Calif. March 14 -
Game show host PETER TOMARKEN, 63, and his wife KATHLEEN ABIGAIL TOMARKEN, 41, both of Los Angeles, were two of possibly three people killed when a single engine plane he owned plunged into Santa Monica Bay Monday morning, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner's office.
At dusk, the search was still on for a third person who may have possibly been on board and who investigators presume is dead.
The County Coroner's Office said they received reports from investigators that TOMARKEN indicated there were three passengers on board when he communicated with the tower shortly before the crash.
However, other reports indicate that only the couple was on board on an Angel's Flight trip to pick up a patient in San Diego.
Meanwhile, news stations say they have a video tape of the crash that Santa Monica police confiscated from a group of Japanese tourists shortly after the tragedy.
The plane - which investigators say PETER TOMARKEN was piloting - circled around over the ocean eight minutes after taking off from Santa Monica Airport.
TOMARKEN called back to Santa Monica Airport saying he needed to make an emergency landing, airport officials said. However, his plane never made it that far, coming to a halt after bouncing off the water one time, spinning around and then quickly sinking, according to witnesses and investigators.
Reports indicate that the plane may have been experiencing engine trouble, although airport officials
could not confirm the report. Witnesses said they heard no sound as the aircraft was approaching.
TOMARKEN was best known for his work on the 1980's game show
"Press Your Luck" - in which contestant's take their chances in an electronic game board for cash and prizes, all the while avoiding
"whammies," red cartoon figures which swipe would-be winners totals leaving them with zero.
The contestants would hover intently over a big red button, yelling "no whammies," and "Big Money" to ward off the game's infamous red cartoon characters and beckon a fortune of luxury items, trips and, of course, money.
Too many Whammies, and the contestant was booted.
The show is now regarded as a cult classic, and TOMARKEN, who also hosted other shows such as Hit Man and Wipeout, as a television cult figure.
Mere hours after his death, some websites dedicated to the show mourned the loss of TOMARKEN and his wife, KATHLEEN.
"I was shocked to learn about the untimely death of PETER TOMARKEN and his wife in a plane crash in Santa Monica, California," said one fan on gscentral.net.
"We can't forget that PETER was part of Game Show Network from Day One, hosting their Prime Games segments live coast to coast and never missing a beat," he said.
"PETER was Press Your Luck, his style and wit and ability to lead made Press Your Luck the exciting show that is immortalized to this day," the fan wrote.
Santa Monica Surf California 2006-03-14