Two small airplanes collided in midair off a Malibu beach Sunday and three people were confirmed dead, officials said.

The two planes collided about 5:30 p.m. roughly 100 yards off El Matador State Beach (search), said Bruce Nelson, operations manager for the Federal Aviation Administration.

"There'll be no survivors. One body is washed up on the shores," Nelson said.

One plane was a Thorp T-18 (search), based in Torrance, and the other a Citabria 7ECA (search), which was kept in Santa Paula, said FAA spokesman Donn Walker.

Rescue crews found the bodies of two people inside the Thorp and a body from the Citabria washed ashore, Walker said.

Authorities for a short time believed there may have been a fourth fatality, but later confirmed that only three people were aboard the planes.

Walker said the pilot of the Thorp departed from Torrance. Before leaving, the pilot called the FAA for a weather briefing for a flight to Santa Paula and called again for weather data for a flight to Agua Dulce in Los Angeles County, Walker said.

One plane fell about 100 yards offshore and the other dropped near the beach, said Brendon Peart, dispatch supervisor for the Los Angeles County Fire Department (search).

The identities of the victims were not immediately available.

Television images showed Coast Guard helicopters searching the area for survivors.

Authorities called off the search and recovery effort late Sunday and it will resume about 7 a.m. Monday. The National Transportation Safety Board had been called to the scene.

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