Three people are killed after two aircraft collide over California airport, US
Three people were killed after two aircraft crashed mid-air over the Watsonville Municipal Airport in California, US, on Thursday afternoon, 18 August 2022, according to Mayor Eduardo Montesino. A single-engine Cessna 152 and a twin-engine Cessna 340 collided during their final decent, according to a statement from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). One person was on board the Cessna 152 and two people were on board the Cessna 340, the FAA said.
No one was injured on the ground, the FAA added. A pet on board one of the aircraft was also killed, Mayor Montesino said.
Audio recorded moments before the collision, reviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle, reveals that the two aircraft were flying close to each other as they attempted to land. At about 14h54, the pilot of the twin-engine Cessna 340 said over the radio that he was a mile out from the airport. "Yeah, I see you're behind me," the pilot of the smaller single-engine Cessna 152 responded, before saying moments later that he had decided to abort his landing attempt. "I'm gonna go around then because you're coming at me pretty quick, man," he said.
A third pilot warned other pilots of the collision shortly afterward. "The twin-engine Cessna was on a long final approach and somebody else was on base turning on final ... approach," another pilot said, discussing the crash, according to the Chronicle. "The twin-engine Cessna didn't see him and he crashed into him. The single-engine went down and the twin-engine rolled into the ground."
The Santa Cruz County Sheriff-Coroner’s Office identified them as Carl Kruppa, 75, of Winton, California; Nannette Plett-Kruppa, 67, also of Winton; and Stuart Camenson, 32, of Santa Cruz.
The collision is being investigated by the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). "The NTSB is investigating the mid-air collision Thursday between a Cessna 152 and a Cessna 340A in Watsonville, California," the NTSB reported.
According to a report published by the Santa Cruz Sentinel, updated in 2018, in the past 30 years, the NTSB has investigated 19 Watsonville airport-related accidents.
Sources: Newsweek, CNN, US News