At least two people dead after two planes collide while trying to land in California

The two twin-engined planes, Cessna 340 and a single-engine Cessna 152 collided on final approach at Watsonville Municipal Airport

At least two people dead after two planes collide while trying to land in California
The Federal Aviation Agency and National National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash (NBC News/YouTube)
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WATSONVILLE, CALIFORNIA: On Thursday, August 18, two airplanes collided mid-air while attempting to land at Watsonville Municipal Airport in California. Two occupants of the planes that crashed were killed, confirmed the officials. The dreadful incident occurred around 3 pm as a twin-engine Cessna 340 and a single-engine Cessna 152 crashed into each other at the Watsonville airport.

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According to New York Post, the two airplanes had three occupants, but it is unsure if the third occupant survived. The planes collided just 100 meters away from the houses near Watsonville airport avoiding a more devastating accident.

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The Federal Aviation Agency and a witness explained that two people were occupying the Cessna 340. The airplane veered into the wing of the Cessna 152, leading the smaller plane to crash into the edge of the airfield. Franky Herrera, an off-duty law enforcement officer who was one of the witnesses told Santacruz Sentinel, “The smaller plane just spiraled down and crashed right here." He also stated that the twin-engined plane continued to fly, but “it was struggling” to land and then he saw flames on the other side of the Watsonville airport.

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Safety guards and fire assistance at Watsonville airport (KPIX CBS SF Bay Area/YouTube)
Safety guards and fire assistance at Watsonville airport (KPIX CBS SF Bay Area/YouTube)

The Watsonville Municipal Airport is owned by Watsonville Municipal authorities. The city-owned airport doesn’t have a control tower to direct pilots coming and going. It has four runways and is the landing spot for more than 300 airplanes on a daily basis. The airport manages more than 55,000 operations annually, primarily for recreational or agricultural purposes.

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The Mayor of the city expressed condolences to the families and friends of the victims through an official statement.“We are grieving tonight from this unexpected and sudden loss. I want to express my deepest and most heartfelt condolences.” Watsonville Mayor Ari Parker said. A tweet from The City Of Watsonville read, "Multiple agencies responded to Watsonville Municipal Airport after 2 planes attempting to land collided. We have reports of multiple fatalities. The report came in at 2.56 pm. The investigation is underway, updates to follow."

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The collision at Watsonville is the third plane crash in California on Thursday, August 18. A 65-year-old San Diego man was severely injured when his single-engine plane crashed on a street in California. Later, he was struck by an SUV near a busy freeway overpass in El Cajon. The pilot’s injuries were not life-threatening, and no one on the ground was hurt. In another incident on the same day, an ultralight aircraft crashed upside down on a building at the Camarillo Airport in Ventura County. In this case, the pilot was heavily injured.

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The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are currently investigating the crash at Watsonville airport.

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