.Watsonville Airport Plane Crash, Three Dead

Two private planes collided above Watsonville Municipal Airport just before 3pm on Thursday

Two men, a woman and a dog died in a mid-air collision between two small private planes above Watsonville Municipal Airport Thursday just before 3pm.

One witness, Steve, who did not want to use his last name, said he saw the planes attempting to land when they clipped wings, and one plane appeared to flip on its side before crash landing near the beginning of the main runway.

Meanwhile, the second plane, a larger Cessna 421 twin-engine plane, continued down the runway and smashed into a grassy field, igniting it ablaze before careening into an airplane hangar. Officials at the scene said that plane had a man, a woman and a dog aboard. They were all pronounced dead at the scene.

The airport hangar sustained significant damage.

The smaller plane, a Cessna 152, with a male pilot landed on its roof near the beginning of the runway off the intersection of Buena Vista Drive and Calabasas Road and was demolished by the impact.

Franky Herrera said he saw the midair collision.

“I had just dropped off a friend and I saw the planes hit each other,” he said. “The large twin-engine plane had banked hard right before their wings hit. The small plane just spiraled down and hit the ground right here. I saw the other plane go off that way before it crashed.”

A large patch of dry grass was set ablaze when the twin-engine plane crashed before plowing into Hangar Y behind the Animal Clinic on Airport Boulevard.

This story will be updated


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Tarmo Hannula
Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. He also reports on a wide range of topics, including police, fire, environment, schools, the arts and events. A fifth generation Californian, Tarmo was born in the Mother Lode of the Sierra (Columbia) and has lived in Santa Cruz County since the late 1970s. He earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz and has traveled to 33 countries.
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