Search discontinued for missing pilot in deadly crash off the coast of Venice

ABC7 News at 6pm
Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 9:07 PM EST
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VENICE, Fla. (WWSB) - Saturday’s deadly plane crash, not far from the Venice Fishing Pier, was on the minds of many beachgoers on Wednesday.

Twelve-year-old Lily Kath and her mom, 43-year-old Misty Kath, were killed in that crash. The search for her dad, 42-year-old Christian Kath, was called off Wednesday. He was the one piloting the plane.

“Unfortunately, he probably didn’t make it,” said Lori Evans, a visitor at the pier.

Christian Kath had been flying for a short time, Federal Aviation Administration records indicate. Randall Monson, owner of The Pilot Place Flight School in Sarasota, says there’s extensive FAA-required training involved to get someone ready to fly.

“There are some aerodynamics you learn, some basic turns, climbs, descents,” said Monson. “Then there’s landings ... You teach them how to land and take off. They have to know the (aircraft) systems.”

Monson says a very important part of that training is being ready for emergencies.

He pointed out student pilots start out flying single-engine aircraft. “Without the engine, they’re gliders, so we teach them how to glide to land if they ever needed to,” said Monson. “Emergency procedures are part of the training and it’s a very important part of the training.”

The Piper Warrior Kath was piloting was rented from St. Pete Air, which operates from Albert Whitted Airport in St. Petersburg. Monson says there are also strict guidelines when it comes to renting out one of his planes.

“We verify the documents. Are they a properly certified pilot, do they have the proper medical license?” said Monson. “We look at their logbook. Do they have the flight review that’s required by the FAA? Once that’s done, we get them in the cockpit and make sure not only do they have the stick-and-rudder skills to fly the airplane, do they really understand airspace rules? Do they understand air traffic control, do they understand collision avoidance?”

The National Transportation Safety Board is continuing with their investigation.