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Plane crashes into Roy neighborhood; pilot critically injured

By KSL.com | Posted - Dec. 5, 2010 at 11:59 p.m.


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ROY -- A plane crashed into a Roy neighborhood Sunday night, critically injuring the pilot. No one was killed.

Authorities confirmed three homes in the area of 2000 West and 4300 South were on fire. Fire officials say those fires have now been contained.

The pilot, 47-year-old Clayton Roop of West Haven, was flying in from St. George when the Cessna 210 began to struggle in the heavy fog and clipped a power line just before 6 p.m., Roy City Fire Chief Jon Ritchie said.

"It hit the power line so those things were kind of sparking at you, and parts of the plane were still on fire," said neighbor Jennifer Presiler.

Pilot pulled from plane

Neighbor Gary Cox helped pull the pilot from the plane. He says Roop was confused and badly burned but was able to answer questions.


I am so thankful we are alive. I am so thankful that everyone got out. I heard that the people in the airplane got out too, and I just can't tell you how thankful I am for that because when I saw that ball of fire, I didn't think that anyone could possibly have survived it.

–Pat Newman


"Pretty banged up, burnt on his hands and face, but he was actually coherent and remembered what his name was and what he was doing," Cox said.

Roop was able to confirm he was the only person in the plane at the time of the crash. He was taken to a nearby hospital in critical condition. He remained in critical but stable condition Sunday night.

Cox says there was "nothing left" of the plane, but that parts were scattered across the road.

Residents evacuated, power outages reported

The crash site is just southwest of the Ogden-Hinckley Airport. The Red Cross set up a reception center at Park Elementary School at 2175 W. 4200 South for evacuees. At least 50 people had checked in at the shelter and were provided with food, water and updates.

As of 10 p.m., the shelter had closed because the displaced families found other places to stay overnight. Some residents were even allowed back in their homes.

Residents reported widespread power outages in the neighborhood. Immediately after the crash, as many as 1,700 homes were in the dark. Power to all those homes now has been restored.

Roy Police Chief Greg Whinham said the neighborhood's residents were all accounted for Sunday night, and no one but the pilot was reported to be hurt.

Police are asking residents to stay away from the crash site, which has been congested with people and cars. Emergency crews are having a difficult time getting in and out of the area.

Witnesses describe scene

Neighbors in the area say they heard a loud boom right after the crash. Many poured out into the street to see what had happened.

The plane crashed into Pat Newman's home. She described the chaos.

"There was a flash, but I didn't get the flash, it didn't register with me until later and then I heard an explosion," she said. "Our car was right outside the door and the explosion was so loud that I said to my husband, ‘our car has exploded' and I got up and went to the door, opened the door and said to him ‘it wasn't our car, it was an airplane let's get out of here.'"

She continued, "I am so thankful we are alive. I am so thankful that everyone got out. I heard that the people in the airplane got out too, and I just can't tell you how thankful I am for that because when I saw that ball of fire, I didn't think that anyone could possibly have survived it."

Ned Newman said, "The lights went out first, then I heard some crackling, then an explosion."

Darrel Gamble's roof caught on fire. "We were having a family dinner. There were 14 of us in the dining room, and all of the sudden the lights went out," he described. "Then within about three seconds, everything north of our house was in flames. Instantly, just a wall of flames -- every bush, every tree."

He continued, "We're so grateful that it didn't actually hit our house because we realized we could all be dead."

The fire chief told Gamble the fire at his home was contained to the attic, which Gamble hopes is the case.

Many residents ran to try to help the pilot. They found plane debris scattered and the pilot on the ground. "He's burnt pretty well on his hands and his face, he had skin hanging on those parts, and his right side hurt pretty good, probably has a bunch of broken ribs and stuff," said Val Saunders. "But you know, for what happened to the man he's incredibly lucky. I think he's going to survive this and you know he was talking to me, and everything, so he's one lucky guy."

Fourth crash in the area in just 21 years

This is the fourth time a small plane has crashed in this area. On March 12, 1989, the pilot of a single-engine plane escaped with just minor injuries when his plane crashed in small field on the south side of 44th South at about 16th West.

Then in July of 1999, four people were killed when their single-engine plane plunged into the backyard of a home at 4311 S. 1900 West -- across the street from the airport runways.

Before hitting the ground, the plane clipped several tall trees, ripping off several large limbs and then flipped onto its top. It burst into flames upon impact.

In 2005, two men survived when their single-engine plane crashed into a home at 2133 W. 4300 South and burst into flames. No one was home at the time, but police evacuated nearly 100 people from about 30 homes in the neighborhood.

Both the pilot and co-pilot walked away from the plane. They were treated for serious injuries.

"I'm not happy about it at all," said Marné Bowden Sunday. "This is the third plane that's crashed in this exact same neighborhood. The one plane hit a house two houses away from where it crashed today."

The cause of Sunday's crash is still unknown.

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Story compiled with contributions from Jennifer Stagg, Emiley Morgan and Sandra Yi.

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