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Multiple people dead after two planes collide while trying to land

Multiple people dead after two planes collide while trying to land

The two planes collided at Watsonville Municipal Airport in Watsonville, Santa Cruz County

Multiple people have died after two planes collided while trying to land at an airport in Northern California yesterday (Thursday 18 August). 

The incident involved a single-engine Cessna 152 and a twin-engine Cessna 340, which crashed into one another as they made their descent to Watsonville Municipal Airport in Watsonville, a town of 52,000 residents in Santa Cruz County

Officials confirmed there had been ‘multiple fatalities’ and that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) had launched an investigation. 

The FAA said the respective pilots were on their final approaches into the airport when their planes collided, and one person had been on board the Cessna 152 while two people were in the Cessna 340.

The transportation agency added that no one on the ground was injured. 

The Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office confirmed it responded to an aircraft collision on Aviation Way near the airport, and arrived to secure the scene with the Watsonville Police Department. 

"This afternoon, two planes collided and came to rest at and near the Watsonville airport," Lt. Patrick Dimick said. 

"There are multiple fatalities. We cannot confirm anything else at this time as we've just secured the airport for the NTSB and FAA to arrive and conduct their investigation." 

The FAA and NTSB have launched an investigation into the incident.

The City of Watsonville shared updates on its official Twitter page, initially saying ‘multiple agencies’ had responded to the incident after a report came in at 2:56pm. 

In a follow-up post, it said in a statement: “We are absolutely saddened to hear about the tragic incident that took the lives of several people. The City of Watsonville sends its deepest condolences to the friends and family of those who passed.” 

Watsonville Mayor Ari Parker added: "We are grieving tonight from this unexpected and sudden loss. 

"I want to express my deepest and most heartfelt condolences." 

According to Watsonville Municipal Airport's website, the site has four runways and is home to more than 300 aircraft.

Its terminal building also includes 'administrative offices, communications room (UNICOM) and lobby area', along with a restaurant and cafe.

"To the terminal's southwest is home to two maintenance FBOs, an aircraft restoration operation, an upholstery shop, two fixed-wing flight schools, one rotary wing flight school and a sport parachute operation," the website adds.

If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677 

Featured Image Credit: KSBW

Topics: US News