Multiple people dead after two planes crash above California airport

“Multiple” people were killed as two planes collided over an airport on California’s central coast, authorities said Thursday.

The number of deaths wasn’t immediately clear, said Michelle Pulido, a spokeswoman for the city of Watsonville.

Pulido said the planes crashed at Watsonville Municipal Airport just before 3 p.m. as it was trying to land.

The Federal Aviation Administration described the planes in a statement as a twin-engine Cessna 340 with two people on board and a single-engine Cessna 152 with one person aboard. They were on their final approaches when they collided, the agency said.

An image posted by the city showed what appeared to be the wreckage of one of the planes.

It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the crash. The city said an investigation was underway.

The National Transportation Safety Board said that it was investigating the mid-air collision.

Watsonville said in a statement Thursday night that “We are absolutely saddened to hear about the tragic incident that took the lives of several people,” and it was extending its condolences to the families and friends of the dead.

Watsonville is about two hours south of San Francisco on Monterey Bay.

Phil Helsel contributed.

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