Investigators' fears are confirmed that there were indeed four people aboard the homebuilt plane that crashed in Half Moon Bay a week ago Sunday, and heartbreakingly, the pilot and one passenger were actually planning to get married this coming weekend.
In the days following last Sunday’s deadly crash of a small, homebuilt plane off the coast of Half Moon Bay, reports differed on the casualties, with NBC Bay Area reporting that “investigators [are] now saying they believe four people were onboard,” while other local outlets said “There were a total of two people on board the plane when it crashed.”
We did, however, learn that the pilot was 27-year-old Oakland resident and native of Australia Lochie Ferrier, and the woman whose body was found in the ocean was identified as 27-year-old San Francisco woman Emma Willmer-Shiles.
A young couple killed in a small plane crash off the coast of Half Moon Bay earlier this month had plans to get married next weekend, according to an obituary for one of the victims. https://t.co/peifUhdURd— NBC Bay Area (@nbcbayarea) January 22, 2024
But over the weekend, we received grim confirmation that there were, in fact, four people on board. NBC Bay Area reported today that another crash victim, 26-year-old Cassidy Rae Petit was engaged to be married to the pilot Ferrier this coming Sunday. And separately, the Chronicle reported on Friday that the fourth victim was 27-year-old SF native Isaac Zimmern.
NBC Bay Area also found Cassidy Petit’s obituary in Vermont, which contains a heartbreaking irony.
The obituary says Petit and Ferrier “planned to be married in Kauai, Hawaii at sunrise on January 28th, 2024 at 7:15 AM. In true Cassidy fashion, her plan was to surf in her wedding gown following the ceremony; a testament to her fiery spirit and love for once-in-a-lifetime experiences.” But instead, on that very same Sunday this coming weekend, “A shared Celebration of Life will be held for Cassidy and Lochie on January 28th, 2024.”
While Willmer-Shiles’s body was found last week, all four are presumed dead.
The National Transportation Safety Board is still investigating this crash of a “homebuilt” model called the Cozy MK IV, and they expect to release a preliminary report within 30 days.
But the UK’s Daily Mail tracked down the man who built the plane, retired Florida dentist Thane Ostroth. Ostroth sold Ferrier the plane last year, and said it was “traumatic” to know the plane he built came to a deadly end. But he defends the safety protocol of these small, homebuilt electric planes.
“The plans come with a list of authorized suppliers of parts,” Ostroth told the Daily Mail. “You buy foam, you buy fiberglass, you buy metal parts from all the manufacturers. And you slowly piece it together.”