Watsonville plane crash victim described as 'once-in-a-lifetime son;' other 2 victims identified

The 3 victims have been identified as Carl Kruppa, 75, Nannette Plett-Kruppa, 67, and Stuart Camenson, 32.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2022
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Authorities on Monday released the identities of the three people killed in a collision between two planes at the Watsonville Municipal Airport.

WATSONVILLE, Calif. (KGO) -- Authorities on Monday released the identities of the three people killed in a collision between two planes at the Watsonville Municipal Airport. The mid-air crash happened last Thursday around 3 p.m.

The victims have been identified as Winton resident Carl Kruppa, 75, Winton resident Nannette Plett-Kruppa, 67, and Santa Cruz resident Stuart Camenson, 32.

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The cause of the crash is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The NTSB announced on Friday, it could take up to two years for a final report of the investigation to be issued.

On Monday, ABC7 News connected with Camenson's family. They described him as a once-in-a-lifetime son, brother and friend.

Camenson was piloting the single-engine Cessna 152, involved in Thursday's crash.

His family told ABC7 News in a statement:

"Stuart will forever hold a very dear place in our hearts. We feel his loss tremendously and will never stop loving, remembering, and feeling his presence. Stuart's goofy spirit and fun nature brought so much joy into our lives and the lives of everyone he met. Stuart's zest for life led him down countless paths where he explored passions and talents, improving himself and enriching the lives of those around him every day. He approached everything and everyone with wholehearted love and thoughtfulness. He was a once in a lifetime son, brother, and friend. His loss will be deeply felt by an immense community of people who loved him and were loved by him."

VIDEO: Surveillance footage shows aftermath of deadly Watsonville plane crash

Known to friends as "Possum Stu," Camenson was a Santa Cruz resident who graduated from UCSC with degrees in chemistry and earth sciences. He went on to work at the university's IT division.

He earned his pilot's license in June 2020. His family said he was practicing "loops, touchdowns and takeoffs," last Thursday for additional certification.

They explained Camenson successfully completed four, and was on his last one when the crash happened.

Authorities said the second plane, a twin-engine Cessna 340, was carrying two people and a dog.

The victims on-board have been identified as Winton residents Carl Kruppa and Nannette Plett-Kruppa.

An internet search linked the two to Kruppa Farms, described as a 4th generation family farm, and Custom Farm Services. Both businesses are located in Winton.

The two small planes collided while attempting to land.

Home surveillance footage shared with ABC7 News showed the immediate aftermath, including a black cloud ascending into the sky. Another angle showed debris from an aircraft falling to the ground.

Radio recordings indicate the two pilots - Kruppa and Camenson - were in communication, shortly before the crash.

Camenson is heard responding to Kruppa, acknowledging, "Yeah, I see you. You're behind me. I'm gonna go around then, you're coming at me pretty quick, man."

Moments later, another voice alerts, "Everybody, please be advised. There has been an accident towards runway 20 Watsonville."

If you're on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live