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Surviving the plane crash

 October 13, 2021 at 8:27 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Annica Colbert….it’s Wednesday, October 13th

Looking at the aftermath of Monday’s plane crash in Santee. More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….

The Navy says it’s recovered the bodies of five sailors from an August Seahawk helicopter crash off the USS Lincoln. The sailors died when their helicopter crashed roughly 60 miles off the coast from San Diego. The wreckage was recovered by an unmanned vehicle Friday. The accident is still under investigation. An initial report says the helicopter touched down before its swaying rotor clipped the carrier’s deck and crashed into the ocean.


The San Diego county sheriff’s office says it’s reopening family and friend in-person visits at jails, ending a two-month suspension due to a surge of covid-19 cases inside the jails. Visitors will have to adhere to health protocols such as mask wearing, physical distancing, and temperature screenings, and there’s a limit of one adult and one child per visit.. More information on how to schedule an appointment can be found on the county sheriff’s website.


The Port of San Diego voted to begin phasing out diesel powered vehicles, with a goal of eliminating them at port facilities completely by 2030. That’s five years sooner than a state mandate requires. There was some pushback: The Port Tenants Association complained the commissioners are moving too quickly and union officials expressed concern about jobs. But electrician Christina Marquez says the board can’t move fast enough.

“Electric vehicle charging infrastructure planning needs to be broader in scope. Comprehensive. And needs to support a full zero emission transportation transition.”

From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now.Stay with me for more of the local news you need.

National Transportation Safety Board agents are leading the investigation following Monday’s deadly plane crash in Santee. The process of documenting the scene is still underway... Officials say they want to collect radar, weather and air traffic communications as well as the pilot’s medical records.

KPBS Reporter Matt Hoffman says those who lost their homes and have family members in the hospital are still reeling from the incident.

“….We hear you all and we’re super... thankful”

Oh my god a plane crashed into this UPS truck and this house right by our neighborhood

James Slaff-Gruel, parents hospitalized

My first reaction was this can't be real this is something out of a bad video game or a war movie this isn’t something that’s possible

James Slaff-Gruel’s parents were sitting inside their home watching TV when the plane and the ensuing fireball came ripping through their home.. Neighbors who heard the crash came to their rescue, pulling the couple from the burning house--

The people who risked their lives to save mom and phil i have no words, you just cannot say thank you enough, thank you isnt enough


These people just risked everything for people they dont know

The couple were taken to UC San Diego medical center and their son says they are conscious and talking after suffering third degree burns.. But he’s worried.


It’s the emotional side that you’re kind of unsure about you dont know how somebody is going to react to this once the shock wears off and you see your house like this

The plane crash killed two people: the pilot and a UPS driver who was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.. Federal investigators are trying to determine what caused the crash, but we know from air traffic recordings the pilot who’s been identified as Dr. Sugata Das from Yuma, Arizona kept climbing and then descending.

Low altitude alert, climb immediately! Climb the airplane, maintain 5,000. Expedite climb, climb the airplane please.

Then there was the impact, which neighbors described as a loud boom followed by shaking..

Cody and Courtney Campbell, home was destroyed

I was able to see my house from the backside and that’s when I knew right away that it was a total loss, obviously it was pretty traumatic (cut before the laugh)

Cody and Courtney Campbell live in the second house that was completely destroyed.. they were both at work when the place crashed, but Cody was supposed to be home early and his wife was unsure at first if he was safe.

Couldn't get a hold of him he wasn’t answering I thought maybe he did go home and then he finally picked up the phone, I had about 400 missed call ss “so I wasn't sure” and an abundance of text messages

Just by chance, Cody’s mom picked up their 15-year-old dog that morning, likely saving its life. The couple were just married in May and moved in here a few days later.. Sometimes working from home, they know this could have had a much different ending.

With all luck we’ll be able to put some of the pieces together but most importantly we could be doing much different interviews, those things aren’t important in the end this is all that matters

The Campbells and others impacted by this tragedy say they are so grateful for the community’s support as they work through the process of rebuilding their lives.

We hear you all and we’re super thankful

That was reporting from KPBS’s Matt Hoffman.. While two homes were completely destroyed 10 others were damaged by debris. The NTSB says a preliminary report is expected in about two weeks.. The timeframe for a full report is 12 to 24 months.


More DUI checkpoints may be coming to San Diego County as a result of an increase in DUI homicides. KPBS’ Alexandra Rangel reports.

“Despite a decrease in traffic on the roadways during the pandemic, there has been an increase in DUI homicides. It's a tragic reality that can be seen here by this car.”

The driver,a 25 year old woman. She was intoxicated and involved in a crash that injured four people.

It was a DUI crash that involved no fatalities, but San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan says that is’t always the case.

Summer Stephan, San Diego County District Attorney

“And they are playing russian roulette with people's lives.”

Stephen says San Diego saw its worst year ever in DUI homicides in two decades.

Summer Stephan, San Diego County District Attorney

“This year there are already dui cases with 35 victims that didn't come home to their families.”

Stephan says they’re seeing trends of younger drivers who are intoxicated with both alcohol and drugs.

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department says they’re also seeing a concerning trend of higher blood alcohol content. On average those arrested have a BAC that’s double the point zero eight legal limit and in North County they’re seeing BAC’s even higher than that.

Stephen announced a new grant from the Office of Traffic Safety to prevent DUI deaths and to prosecute impaired drivers.

Summer Stephan, San Diego County District Attorney

“This year's grant funding totals 530,000. That is going to allow our team to get the resources it needs to continue fighting this battle.”

Charkes Leonard with the California HIghway Patrol says money will be used for education, training, and different prevention measures which include DUI checkpoints.

Charles Leonard, CHP Captain

“With funding like this our focus would be to increase dui checkpoints. We just recently did a checkpoint which resulted in f arrests. Who knows how many lives that saved.”

In the past, DUI checkpoints have been a concern for undocumented immigrants.

Theresa Adams-Hyder with the Sheriff's Department says immigration status isn't a concern.

Theresa Adams-Hydar, SDCS Commander

“There is no look or even bother, corn, about someone's nationality or of that nature. We are concerned if someone is intoxicated, period.”

Stephan is asking all drivers in san diego to take a pledge to not drive while intoxicated, Alexandra Rangel, KPBS News.


new carpool lanes from solana beach to carlsbad will bring some relief to traffic on the 5 freeway. kpbs north county reporter tania thorne says the lanes will reach the 78 freeway after construction is completed.

Nine miles of new carpool lanes are expected to open by the end of the year.

Allan Kosup with CALTRANS says the lanes will reach the 78 freeway after the last phase of construction is complete.

“The piece that were beginning today should be open to traffic by the end of next year, 2022.”

Kosup warns drivers to look out for traffic changes while the carpool lanes are being completed.

Starting next week we will be reducing the speed limit through the construction zone to 55 miles an hour just like we've done to the south. Drivers can expect some new orange striping that were piloting just to give people a heads up that you are in a construction zone.

Improvements to the San Elijo lagoon, the Coaster tracks, and the carpool lanes are part of the North Coast corridor project.


the chula vista elementary school district now has 10 electric-powered school buses, in an effort to cut air pollution. kpbs education reporter m.g. perez rode along with one of the bus drivers on tuesday.

The new electric-powered school buses were paid for with grant money from the California Energy Commission. The money was given to the Chula Vista Elementary School district in 2019 ...but...the COVID pandemic and shutdown kept the electric buses off the road until now.

Libni Lopez is one of the first drivers behind the wheel.

“I feel it’s safe because if something happens like one of the doors opens...the bus will I feel it’s safe.”

The buses benefit student health, too. Traditional diesel fueled buses create air pollution that science has determined can trigger asthma in healthy children. MGP KPBS News


Coming up.... the first San Diego Filipino Film Festival is about to launch.
we are inspired, but we're nervous because this is a test we wanted to see if we can engage the community.

We’ll have more on that next, just after the break.

October is Filipino American History Month, so it’s the perfect time for the San Diego Filipino Cinema to launch its first ever San Diego Filipino Film Festival. Itl runs Oct. 14th through the 19th in a mix of virtual and in-person events. KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando has this preview.

When Benito Bautista and Emma Francisco started making films more than a decade ago, they felt like they had no platform to show their work. When they arrived in San Diego they decided to make a difference to both the Filipino and filmmaking communities. So they founded San Diego Filipino Cinema says executive director Bautista.

BENITO BAUTISTA Our mission is to discover and exhibit compelling films from the global Filipino filmmakers to the diverse community in San Diego.

And this week the non-profit launches the first ever San Diego Filipino Film Festival showing more than 40 films in person and another 30 online..

BENITO BAUTISTA What we're excited about is that we have given San Diego sort of a platform to see, to see and be curious and find out what we have globally, because there are a lot of Filipinos globally. And the experience of a Filipino in Africa or the Philippines or California may not be the same.

But sometimes there are common threads especially among the short films… says Francisco, who is the festival programmer.

EMMA FRANCISCO I think the common thread with all the films is about family life, Filipino family life.

Francisco says the festival provides an opportunity to not just showcase fresh voices but also to support filmmakers.

EMMA FRANCISCO hopefully to inspire young filmmakers to share their own stories and hopefully give them the tools that they need in order to be a sustainable filmmaker.

But putting on a festival for the first time can be challenging.

BENITO BAUTISTA We are inspired, but we're nervous because this is a test we wanted to see if we can engage the community in participating in familiar stories or stories that they've never heard or stories moving forward that are coming from a younger generation talking to them, You know, we don't know, we don't know how they are going to engage. Will they coming running to theater or will they not go.

EMMA FRANCISCO Benito and I have dreamt about this for a long time since we were into Philippines, filming our films and watching the audience, how films made such an impact to them.

BENITO BAUTISTA we realize the impact, you know, the transformative impact of cinema and how we can actually change our motivation for existence because of the things that we see. And we hear, especially when the filmmaker is there. And then we learn about the process and the meaning and the subtext that are embedded in the film that has been made… But, you know, it's a shared humanity. Still, we share the same emotions.

Bautista says tomorrow’s opening night features a rock and roll documentary at the Mingei Museum in Balboa Park.

BENITO BAUTISTA It's a band of Philippine American women in the Sixties and Seventies based in Sacramento. And they were rock musicians like the Rolling Stones, but they were never recognized by the American music industry because of the color of their skin. We also have a special work in progress screening of A Long March by Tammy Botkin. I'm one of the co producers of this film. It's a feature documentary about the story of the Filipino US Army veterans of World War II.

Bautista is excited to finally be showing films in person again because there’s a magic to watching movies in a cinema together.

BENITO BAUTISTA And the reason is because we might be four people in the theater. But we share, right. We share the fluctuations and the emotional ups and downs of the film. And I'm excited to experience that with audience as they watch the film as we watch the films.

San Diego Filipino Film Festival will attract far more than four people with its diverse selection of films. It is a welcome addition to San Diego’s rich array of film festivals.

Beth Accomando, KPBS News.

San Diego Filipino Film Festival runs Thursday through Oct. 19th both in person and online.

That’s it for the podcast today. Be sure to catch KPBS Midday Edition At Noon on KPBS radio, or check out the Midday podcast. You can also watch KPBS Evening Edition at 5 O’clock on KPBS Television, and as always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. I’m Annica Colbert. Thanks for listening and have a great day.

In Santee, family members and friends of those whose houses were destroyed by Monday’s deadly plane crash count their blessings. The National Transportation Safety Board continues the investigation. Meanwhile, the Chula Vista elementary school district now has electric school buses. And, San Diego’s first ever Filipino Film Festival is on.