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NTSB releases preliminary report of Watsonville midair collision that killed three

WATSONVILLE, Calif. (KION-TV) UPDATE Sept. 15, 2022, at 12:06 p.m.- The National Transportation Safety Board has released its preliminary report on the midair collision between two Cessnas that occurred in mid-August that killed three people.

The initial report says the Cessna 152 was in the traffic pattern at Watsonville Municipal Airport and completed four touch-and-go landings. The Cessna 340 was northeast of the airport he reported he was 10 miles out and planning to descend into runway 20.

A minute later, the Cessna 152 said he was on the crosswind leg. The pilot of the Cessna 340 reported he was 3 miles out and "straight in for runway 20."

The Cessna 340 then said he was a mile out and straight in for the runway and was looking for traffic on the left base. The Cessna 152 said he wanted to go around the Cessna 340 “because you are coming up on me pretty quick.”

Witnesses said they heard both pilots communicating over the CTAF and other witnesses saw the two planes collide.

"One witness stated that he was flying overhead of the airport at 1,300 ft mean seal level (MSL) when he heard the two pilots on the CTAF," said the preliminary report. "He focused his attention on the final approach path and observed the Cessna 340 'on the Cessna 152’s tail.' The Cessna 340 then banked to the right, and its left wing struck the Cessna 152."

The full report can be read below:

Three victims in Watsonville Municipal Airport midair collision identified

UPDATE AUGUST 22, 2022, at 12:06 p.m.- The Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office has identified the three victims killed in a midair collision in Watsonville Thursday.

They have been identified as 75-year-old Carl Kruppa of Winton, California, and 67-year-old Nannette Plett Kruppa of Winton, California, who were in the twin-engine Cessna 340. The pilot of the single-engine Cessna 152 was 32-year-old Stuart Camenson of Santa Cruz.

Nannette and Carl are part of the Kruppa Farms family and Garden in Merced County. The family has asked for privacy as they grieve.

The University of California Santa Cruz confirmed with KION that Camenson was employed by the university. He is listed as an Information Technology Specialist in the university directory.

We are deeply saddened by this tragedy and mourn the loss of Stuart Camenson, Carl Kruppa and Nannette Plett-Kruppa. Stuart graduated from UC Santa Cruz with degrees in chemistry and Earth sciences and went on to work in our Division of Information Technology as an information systems analyst. Our thoughts are with their family and friends during this difficult time. 

UC Santa Cruz

The cause of the collision is still under investigation.

WATSONVILLE, Calif. (KION-TV)  UPDATE AUGUST 19, 2022, at 12:24 p.m.-The National Transportation Safety Board held a press conference Friday to go over a midair collision that occurred at the Watsonville Municipal Airport.

A single-engine Cessna 152 and a twin-engine Cessna 340 collided Thursday just before 3 p.m.

Three people and a dog were on board the planes, according to our reporter on the scene. One was in the Cessna 152, and two with a dog in the Cessna 3ne. There were no reported survivors.

One of the aircrafts was operating in a traffic pattern, and another was attempting to land before colliding. The names of the three deceased will be released by the Santa Cruz County Coroner's Office, but the NTSB said all the victims were adults.

Final transmission and security video of the collision. Video courtesy of Telemundo 48.

The procedure for people taking off from the airport was also discussed, "In an uncontrolled airport, common frequencies available to announce actions both coming and going," said Salazar. "There's no requirement that makes an individual have to use a common frequency."

The city-owned airport does not have a control tower to direct aircraft landing and taking off. That topic was discussed during the press conference.

"The airport is an uncontrolled airport," Fabian Salazar, a spokesperson for NTSB, said. "Pilots have a common traffic advisory frequency to communicate with one another We are working on getting communications from that day of the incident."

Watsonville Municipal Airport Director Rayvon Williams said since he's worked at the airport, this is the first collision of this nature he's seen.

"The airport itself is a strong community," said Williams. "Any time there's an accident or concern, whether it's a loss of life when most serious or someone has a flat tire on the ramp, there are certainly people here that are grieving, and everyone is doing what they can to assist us. We're saddened by this event and will wait until the investigation goes on before we comment."

The airport will remain open as the investigation continues. Airspeed into the approach and space of the airport will be looked into during the investigation, according to the NTSB.

Witnesses are asked to please get in touch with the NTSB at

Watsonville Municipal Airport midair collision kills three

Multiple agencies are responding to a plane crash in the City of Watsonville that has resulted in three fatalities, according to the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office.

Two planes collided in the air at the Watsonville Municipal Airport after attempting to land, Watsonville Police confirmed with KION. This happened around 2:56 p.m. on Thursday.

A single-engine Cessna 152 and a twin-engine Cessna 340 collided. Three people were on board the planes, one in the Cessna 152 and two in the Cessna 340, according to our reporter on the scene. There were no reported survivors.

The Santa Cruz Sheriff's Office is also responding.

Road Closures are at Freedom and Buena Vista Drive, Buena Vista Drive and Calabasas and Buena Vista Drive and Manfre Road.

The city-owned airport does not have a control tower to direct aircraft landing and taking off. The airport accounts for about 40% of all general aviation activities in the Monterey Bay area, according to the City of Watsonville’s website.

The sheriff’s office said the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board were investigating.

Stay with KION for more details when they become available.

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Ricardo Tovar

Assignment/ Web Manager for KION News Channel 5/46 and Telemundo 23


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