Christian & Misty Kath killed in Venice plane crash along with eldest daughter leaving youngest daughter an orphan. Florida pilot was new pilot, family hailed from Queensland, Australia.
Christian Kath, 42, a newly-trained pilot, was flying a light aircraft alongside his wife Misty, 43, and eldest daughter Lily, 12, when the plane plunged into the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Florida on Saturday, December 3.
The family, who had recently moved to St Petersburg from Queensland, Australia, had reportedly been on a trip to the nearby city of Venice for dinner and were on their way back when the tragedy struck. Christian and Misty’s youngest daughter Harper, whose age is unclear, was staying over at her friend’s house at the time.
The family had rented a single-engine Piper Cherokee leading into the doomed trip, WWSB reported.
According to FAA records, Kath was a relatively novice pilot who had earned his private license on July 31. The father-of-two gushed about completing his first solo flight on Facebook earlier in 2022.
‘I flew solo for the first time today! Felt so proud to finally achieve something I’ve been wanting to do since I was 8 years old,’ the father wrote in March, adding that he had been taking lessons since December 2021 and was about halfway through his quest to earn his PPL. ‘
‘Thanks for putting up with my early morning lessons and late-night studying Misty Kath; it will all feel worthwhile when we can fly to the Keys for a weekend away with Lily and Harper soon,’ he added. His wife replied to the post, writing, ‘So, so proud of you!!! I cannot wait for all our flying adventures.’
According to FAA records, the single-engine craft crashed into the water shortly after taking off from Venice Municipal Airport en route to Albert Whitted Airport in St Petersburg.
The plane was recovered by divers Monday afternoon and brought ashore at the Higel Marine Park boat ramp. Venice police said the bodies of Misty and Lily were recovered Sunday, December 4.
The mother’s body was located by recreational boaters floating about 2.5 miles west of Venice Beach. The body of Lily, a student at Shorecrest Preparatory School in St Petersburg, was later recovered by divers from the submerged wreckage. The father’s body had yet to be recovered, news.com.au reported.
Speculating on what may have led to the tragic accident, included loss of power, and flying in the dark along with the relative experience of the pilot, contemplated Gregory Haman, director of Flight Operations for Agape Flights.
‘A lot of times when you’re taking off over the Gulf at night there is zero reference to the horizon, especially on a dark night, that could’ve played a possibility,’ Haman speculated according to WWSB.
It remained unclear if the plane experienced engine failure. The recovered aircraft will be taken to a secure facility in Jacksonville for examination.
A preliminary report is typically published 15 days after the accident.