Local News

Phoenix family dies in plane crash near Santee

SANTEE, Calif. — The identities of an Arizona father, mother and their daughter, who died in a Santee plane crash, were released Sunday afternoon.

William A. Stern Jr., 65, his 53-year-old wife Jennifer J. Stern and 19-year-old daughter Katelyn Jane were killed as the home-made plane hit a hillside Saturday in the Sycamore Canyon Open Space Preserve, north of Santee, San Diego Medical Examiner’s Office said Sunday.

Family and friends of the Sterns were seen gathering at their Phoenix home Sunday, according to media.

William Stern was piloting the plane he owned from Montgomery Field to Phoenix Deer Valley Airport.

Ian Gregor, public affairs manager for the Federal Aviation Administration, said the single-engine Lancair IV-P crashed under unknown circumstances around 10:15 a.m. about 3 miles north of Santee.

A hiker in the area witnessed the small plane going down, and said it looked like the plane may have been doing stunts.

“I watched as this plane flew over my house yesterday.  He wasn’t doing stunts.  He was in trouble and couldn’t recover,” Sam Dennis said in a Facebook post Sunday.

Phoenix family ID'd in plane crashA sheriff’s helicopter found the crash site in remote Sycamore Canyon, west of Route 67 and east of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

The incident was being investigated by the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board.

Gregor said the NTSB investigator usually posts a basic preliminary report on the agency’s website within a week or two of an accident, though it typically takes months to come up with a probable cause for accidents.


6 Comments to “Phoenix family dies in plane crash near Santee”

    Sam said:
    December 30, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    I watched the plane as it flew over me. He wasn't doing stunts. He was in trouble and couldn't recover. Bless their souls.

      Sharon said:
      December 30, 2012 at 3:41 PM

      Yes – this is very sad – prayers to their family – to loose that many at one time would be devastating…..

    Auntie B said:
    December 30, 2012 at 8:32 PM

    So sorry, Billy, My heart goes out to you. If I could help in anyway let me know. Love to you and Woobie, Auntie B.

    sara said:
    January 1, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    did they ever tell what type of animal was found inside the plane

      Addie said:
      January 5, 2013 at 7:36 PM

      It was their cat.

    JD said:
    January 2, 2013 at 8:05 AM

    So sad….God Bless their family….

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