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Santa Cruz Family Killed In Watsonville Plane Crash

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Scene from a fatal small plane crash in Watsonville on July 7, 2011. (CBS)

Scene from a fatal small plane crash in Watsonville on July 7, 2011. (CBS)

WATSONVILLE (CBS SF) – The Santa Cruz County coroner’s office has identified the family of four who was killed in a plane crash in Watsonville on Thursday.

David Houghton and his wife Dede Houghton, both 44 years old, were on their way to meet relatives along with their two children, 12-year-old Luke and 10-year-old Ryan.

All four were killed when their 1974 single-engine Mooney M20F crashed into a medical office building on the Watsonville Community Hospital campus around 7:30 p.m., according to Watsonville police Deputy Chief Rudy Escalante.

“I believe they were supposed to go meet other family members near Yosemite,” Escalante said.

The Houghtons lived in Santa Cruz.

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

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.

The medical office building is on the campus of the Watsonville Community Hospital, but it’s separate from the hospital itself, hospital spokeswoman Cindy Weigelt said.

The medical building was empty at the time of the crash, and the hospital building was not affected. The crash caused a fire, but a quick response by the fire department meant no evacuations were necessary and the hospital remained operational following the crash, Weigelt said.

The aircraft, which was registered in Santa Cruz, had departed Watsonville Municipal Airport just before it crashed, according to FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford. The hospital campus is next to the airport.

The NTSB is investigating the cause of the crash.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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