Preliminary report into Florida plane crash that killed QLD family details last moments

It’s been revealed that a takeoff issue was the cause of a horrific crash that killed three members of a Queensland family earlier this month.

On December 3, a light plane flown by Christian Kath, 42, crashed over the Gulf of Mexico while carrying his wife, Misty Kath, 43, and their 12-year-old daughter.

The family were flying back to their home in St Petersburg, Florida, after having a sunset dinner in Venice, roughly 94km away.

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A report released by the US’ National Transportation Safety Board found that the plane flew to an altitude of 22m after takeoff before it crashed into the water around 16 seconds later.

An examination into the engine also found there were “no pre-impact mechanical anomalies” that would have impacted the plane’s normal operation.

“Airport surveillance video from the time of the accident depicted an aeroplane departing runway 23 with little to no angle of climb into a dark sky over dark water with no discernible horizon,” the NTSB report read.

The report also revealed that Mr Kath had logged 13.5 hours of flight experience after obtaining his private pilot license on July 31 of this year. According to social media posts made by Mr Kath, he had started flying lessons in December 2021.

Originally from Gympie in regional Queensland, the Kath family had been living in the US for the last five years and had plans to move back to Australia.

The family is survived by their youngest daughter Lily, 10, who was at a sleepover during the flight. It was later revealed that the 10-year-old has moved in with her maternal grandparents, Penny and John.

Speaking to 7News, Mr Kath’s father, Chris said his son was “not a risk-taker, in any way, shape or form”.

“I want Christian to also be remembered for his depth of character as well as his loving character,” he said.

“He really will be missed. The world will be a poorer place for not having Christian.”

Chris said his grand daughter Lily had attempted to get in contact with the family.

“She was trying to text and call her mum and sister in the morning, (asking) when were they coming to pick her up,” he said.

Tragically, a GoFundMe fundraiser created by Penny’s friend, Leah Hargraves revealed the family had planned to move back to Australia within a matter of weeks.

“Penny’s family (originally from Australia) were due to come back to Australia this summer where the two girls were supposed to start school,” Ms Hargraves said.

The campaign raised a total of $13,440, with the funds going towards helping “provide for the many known and unknown necessities” in the aftermath of the three deaths.

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