Missing duckhunter teens sought in Delta.

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Missing teens sought in Delta.

Thousands stranded in Sierra whiteout

Angelica Pence, Chronicle Staff Writer  

Monday, December 3, 2001


Last night's pounding winter storm stranded thousands of motorists in the Sierra Nevada and may have contributed to a plane crash that killed four people.

Near Oakley, a search for two boys who disappeared yesterday in the Delta continued this morning. A helicopter, six boats and a dive team with the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department, the U.S. Coast Guard and the East Bay Regional Park Police resumed a search in the city's Big Brig Marina shortly after dawn, said Joe Reyes a spokesman for the Park Police.

Kent Osborn, 39, his 16-year-old son Mark Osborn, and Mark's friend Mike Valin, 15, were duck hunting early yesterday when their boat capsized near Oakley sometime between 4 and 5 a.m., said Park Police Sgt. Jon King.

The boys were not wearing their life preservers but were able to grab onto them when they went overboard. The father used duck decoys to help stay afloat,

King said.

Kent Osborn told investigators that he held onto one boy for a half-hour and the other for an hour, but eventually lost his grip in the 54-degree water.

Passers-by spotted Kent Osborn in the choppy waters of Dutch Slough around 1:30 p.m. -- more than eight hours after the boat overturned, King said. He was taken to Delta Sutter hospital, where he was treated for hypothermia and released.

The two teens are students at Freedom High School, the same Oakley school that lost two 17-year-olds two weeks ago when they died in a car accident.

In the Sierra foothills, investigators were trying to determine this morning whether the turbulent weather was a factor in the crash of a Piper Comanche last night about eight miles south of Placerville near Highway 49.

A fire apparently broke out inside the aircraft after the crash. Investigators were attempting to confirm the victims' identities.

The wintry weather whipped in strong winds and heavy snow to the Lake Tahoe area, shutting schools, highways and ski resorts.

More than 3,000 Pacific Gas and Electric Co. customers around the Bay Area and about 12,000 customers in Northern California are still without power after the weekend storms, a PG&E spokesman said today.

A whiteout shut Interstate 80 over Donner Summit, according to the California Highway Patrol. The heavily traveled pass re-opened last night for vehicles with chains or snow tires. Highway 50, meantime, remained closed today through Echo Summit, between Pollock Pines and Meyers. Chains or snow tires were also required today on all other highways in the Sierra and on Interstate 395 north and south of Reno.

Off the coast, the National Weather Service today issued a heavy surf advisory from Point Arena in Sonoma County to Point Piedras Blancas in Monterey County. A coastal flood watch likewise is in effect, as waves from 7 to 16 feet are expected to crash into the Monterey Bay shore.

This afternoon, 10 to 25 mph winds were expected to blow away gray clouds looming over the Bay Area. Highs were expected to reach from the mid- to upper 50s. Tonight's forecast called for mostly clear and cool weather with some spotty frost inland. Lows were forecast to be in the 30s and 40s.


E-mail Angelica Pence at apence@sfchronicle.com.

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Wear your PFD if you're getting in a boat, it will save your life.
 
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