Family in Venice plane crash identified

A March 21 post on Christian Kath's public Facebook page shows him with the aircraft he flew...
A March 21 post on Christian Kath's public Facebook page shows him with the aircraft he flew with his family to Venice Dec. 3.(Facebook)
Published: Dec. 6, 2022 at 11:36 AM EST
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VENICE, Fla. (WWSB) - The family whose rented plane crashed into the Gulf shortly after takeoff from Venice Municipal Airport has been identified.

The victims have been identified as Christian Kath, 42; his wife, Misty Kath, 43, and their daughter Lily, 12. The family was currently living in St. Petersburg, Fla., and previously resided in Australia, Lorraine Anderson, a spokeswoman for the City of Venice, released Tuesday.

The bodied of Misty and Lily have been recovered. The search for any trace of Christian Kath continues, Anderson said.

Lily was a student at Shorecrest Preparatory School in St. Petersburg, ABC7 has confirmed. Venice Police officials continue to be in communication with family members of the Kaths.

Crew pulled the mangled plane out of the Gulf of Mexico Monday afternoon. The plane is now being taken to Jacksonville where the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate.

After consultation with the U.S. Coast Guard, the search area in the Gulf has been expanded, but assets have been scaled back, Anderson said. 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. Boaters who observe anything should immediately contact the Coast Guard using marine radio on channel 16.

Divers were expected to be present in the crash area again Tuesday, approximately 1/3 of a mile offshore.

Authorities say the Kaths flew into Venice for dinner from Albert Whitted Airport in St. Petersburg.

According to FAA records, Christian Kath was a relatively new pilot, earning his private pilot’s license only a few months ago, on July 31.

“Obviously when you lose one of your own it hurts,” said Mark Cervasio, director of Venice Municipal Airport.

Authorities and airport officials talked about the investigation Monday. “Someone was on the pier, looked away and then heard a noise, but didn’t register to them that it was a crash,” said Venice Police Chief Charlie Thorpe.

Gregory Haman, director of Flight Operations for Agape Flights, flies out of Venice Airport twice a week.

“I got a family and a small airplane, two boys of my own, a lot of times we’ll fly to St. Petersburg for dinner,” said Haman. “My heart breaks on multiple levels both as a pilot, as a dad and as a husband. It’s a sad thing, it’s a tragic thing anytime you have loss of life, for me it definitely hits close to home.”

As an experienced pilot, Haman has his thoughts on what possibly could’ve gone wrong.

“Loss of power, I understand that it was after dark, depending on the experience level of the pilot,” said Haman. “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.”