As reported in the Lake Elsinore Valley Sun
Thurday, 19 July 1962
(courtesy of Jeffrey Harmon, Temecula Valley Historical Society Field Researcher)
Monday morning at 9:30 just south of the Vail Ranch in Temecula, a F9F-8T Marine jet fighter trainer from El Toro, piloted by Capt. John C. Coffin of 2814 W. Castor in Santa Ana crashed. The plane was from the Marine Training Squadron Two at El Toro.
The crash resulted in three separate brush fires and wreckage was strewn over a wide area. Seventeen units of the State Division of Forestry were called to the scene and with the aid of three Hemet based borate bombers, the fires were quickly extinguished.
The main section of the plane made a crater in the ground approximately 10 feet deep. The largest part of the plane, a section of wing about 3 ft. long and 1 ft. in width was found. A picture of the plane part and the crater may be seen elsewhere in the Sun.
The pilot radioed to his base that he was bailing out. He landed in Vail Lake. According to an Elsinore Sheriff’s deputy, Mrs. Anna Dagle, who is an employee at the ranch, heard the jet pass over and saw the pilot bail out. She then took a row boat and rowed out to the pilot who was apparently unharmed except for a wrenched back. By the time they reached shore a military helicopter was on hand to return the pilot to his base.