Family of Three Killed During Single-Engine Plane Crash Near Venice
Multiple law enforcement agencies in Sarasota County, as well as federal authorities with the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration, are currently investigating a fatal plane accident that claimed the lives of two people over the weekend.
According to preliminary reports, it was approximately 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 3, 2022, when 42-year-old newly-minted pilot Christian Kath departed from the Venice Municipal Airport with his 43-year-old wife Misty and their 12-year-old daughter Lily in a 1976 Piper Cherokee airplane. The family of three, who are formerly from Australia, had rented the single-engine aircraft and flown from their hometown of St. Petersburg to Venice for dinner, but when their small plane did not return to the Albert Whitted Airport in St. Petersburg as scheduled, officials with the FAA reached out to members of the Venice Police Department for assistance. Sometime within this same timeframe, the body of 43-year-old Misty Kath was found roughly 2½ miles west of Venice Beach by a group of recreational boaters in the Gulf of Mexico.
Early the next morning, Sarasota County emergency rescue teams were dispatched to the vicinity of where the first plane crash victim was discovered and started to search a five mile radius for the two remaining family members and the aircraft itself. Divers with the United States Coast Guard located the downed airplane under fifteen feet of sea water shortly before 2 p.m. that same day. Sadly, they also discovered the 12-year-old daughter deceased within the passenger area of the plane. Rescuers have been searching since Sunday for 42-year-old Christian Kath, but have been unable to successfully locate him.
Federal investigators and salvage teams removed the wreckage and transported it to a secure facility in Jacksonville, Florida. “Part of the investigation will be to request radar data, weather information, maintenance records and the pilot’s medical records. NTSB investigators will look at the human, machine and environment as the outline of the investigation,” said NTSB spokeswoman Jennifer Gabris in a statement to local media outlets.
Aviation accidents involving fatalities can take up to two years to complete, however, local officials believe preliminary details surrounding the deadly plane crash could be released within the next fourteen days. Additionally, “boaters from Sarasota Bay south to Gasparilla are requested to be aware of the possibility of a body or small aircraft debris floating in this area,” stated the Venice Police Department. If you come in contact with evidence related to this tragic case, please contact the appropriate authorities immediately.
James O. Cunningham
Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.