As Seen on montereyherald
Scurich Insurance Services wants you to know whats going on in your area!
A four-passenger airplane based out of Watsonville crashed into Watsonville Community Hospital about 7:30 p.m. Thursday, killing four people, according to Fire Chief Mark Bisbee.
Witness George Benson said he saw the plane take off and said the pilot appeared to be trying to clear the fog line.
Benson, a Watsonville pilot, was in the industrial park adjacent to the Watsonville Municipal Airport. He said the single-engine light brown Mooney was a four-seater.
“He (the pilot) was heading toward the coast and tried to climb,” Benson said. “From the time he took off, he was going too steep, too slow.
“He spun to the left and you can see where the impact was,”Benson said standing in the hospital parking lot looking at the tail of the charred plane sticking out of the building, debris strewn across the parking lot.
“He didn’t have any time for recovery,” Benson said, suggesting he’d have used the cross runway. The airport has two runways, laid out like a “t”.
Fog typically rolls in over South County during the summer, settling in as night falls, often causing issues for pilots taking off from the airport. The National Weather Service confirmed there was normal bay fog settling in the area Thursday night.
Airport manager Don French said there were no special advisories and it was a normal Central Coast foggy day. But the tenured pilot said it was an unusual place for an airplane to be and not the “usual flight path.”
“It’s never as simple as it appears to be,” said French, who’s set to retire after four decades.
French said he couldn’t identify the passengers but could confirm the plane is local.
According to the tail number, the plane is registered to David Houghton, listed as a principal at A+ Environmental Solutions, an environmental sciences and engineering firm in Santa Cruz. It’s not clear whether he was on board. The co-owner was listed as Chester Belknap, also of Santa Cruz.