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Former Bixby Ranch Heir Dies in Long Beach Plane Crash

Mark Bixby, four others killed as small plane crashes after takeoff

[Noozhawk’s note: The story below has been updated with additional details for Bixby Land Co., Bixby Ranch Co. and Bixby Ranch.]

Mark Bixby, a scion of the family that once owned the 25,000-acre Bixby Ranch along the coast west of Santa Barbara, was among five people killed in a plane crash Wednesday at Long Beach Airport.

Mark Bixby
Mark Bixby

Authorities said the plane — a twin-engine Beechcraft King Air — crashed as it was taking off at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday en route to Salt Lake City. The aircraft was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived seconds later.

Among the dead were Bixby, a commercial real estate broker with Pacific Retail Partners; Long Beach developers Jeff Berger and Tom Dean; Bruce Krall, who was Dean’s banker; and the pilot, whose identity has not yet been released. One passenger — Mike Jensen, Pacific Retail Partners’ president — survived the crash but is in critical condition at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center.

The group was headed to a ski vacation in Park City, Utah. Dean reportedly owned the aircraft.

An avid skier, surfer and cyclist, Bixby, 44, was a founder of the Long Beach Bicycle Festival and a former vice president of Bixby Land Co., an Irvine-based commercial real estate investment firm.

He is survived by his wife, Theresa, and their three children: Ryan, Kirra and Jessica.

Bixby was an heir of the family that once owned all of what is now Long Beach, significant portions of Irvine and Rancho Palos Verdes, and the historic Bixby Ranch along the Gaviota coast.

In 2007, the Bixby Ranch Co., a California limited partnership, sold Bixby Ranch for a reported $136 million — a record for a noncommercial real-estate sale in California. The cattle ranch is actually a combination of the Cojo and Jalama ranches sprawling along the coast adjacent to Vandenberg Air Force Base. The new owners have not revealed plans for the property.

The cause of Wednesday’s plane crash is under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.

Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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