Family Killed in Watsonville Plane Crash

The parents and their two sons were heading to the Yosemite area when the plane nosedived near the hospital.

A family flying to the Sierra died Thursday evening when their plane plummented from the sky shortly after takeoff, crashed into a medical office near and caught fire, authorities reported Friday morning.

An FAA official confirmed four people died in the 7:30 p.m. crash. The bodies of a man, woman and two boys were found in the wreckage, Watsonville Deputy Police Chief Rudy Escalante said.

"When we started to pull the plane out last night to recover the bodies we started to get some calls from this family that 'Hey, these people didn't show up,' and that's when we discovered there were actually four," Escalante said. "It's pretty sad."

See more photos of the crash aftermath and investigation.

The father, mother and the couple's two sons, ages 12 and 14, died. Their identities have not been released.

No one on the ground was hurt.

The 1974 fixed-wing, single-engine Mooney was registered to David Edward Houghton at an address on the 200 block of Evergreen Street in Santa Cruz, according to FAA records. Chester Belknap, a Live Oak man, is also listed as owner.

and were heading to a town outside of Yosemite, authorities said. The trip was supposed to be about two hours flying time.

The plane crashed into a parking lot and skidded into the empty
medical office building, according to Escalante. 

It crashed about 15 to 30 feet into the building, causing damage to non-structural walls. Water damage also occurred after the crash triggered the building's sprinkler system, but the Watsonville Fire Department put out the fire before evacuations were necessary at the hospital.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

Cathy P. July 08, 2011 at 07:03 PM
Very, very sad.


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