911 calls show moments after I-15 plane crash

911 calls show moments after I-15 plane crash

(Chopper 5, KSL TV)

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Editor's note: KSL.com has chosen not to include the audio from the phone call the pilot made to the control tower out of courtesy to the family.RIVERDALE, Weber County — Calls to the control tower and 911 show the surprise and chaos following a plane crash that killed four people Wednesday afternoon.

Audio from the Ogden-Hinckley Airport tower showed that everything seemed routine prior to the flight. The pilot of the Beech A36 Bonanza radioed in to the control tower that he’d like to head northwest. The traffic controller informs the pilot to make a “left downwind departure” as he cleared the plane for takeoff.

It was routine radio traffic until the pilot radios in again.

“Hey, I’m going down. Zero Whisky Bravo, Zero Whisky —,” the pilot reported before the audio cuts out.

“I just heard him go down and hit the highway there,” the traffic controller responds. After a few seconds of silence, someone mutters an expletive before more silence.

The crash killed Layne and Diana Clarke, 48, and 46, of Taylor, and Perry and Sarah Huffaker, 45, and 42, of West Haven.

In the seconds following the crash, 911 calls began to flood into the Weber Area Dispatch 911 & Emergency Services District. One man called from a nearby business, reporting he had seen the crash happen.

“I don’t know right where it’s at, but a plane just crashed literally right next to Riverdale Road right by I-15,” the caller said.

“A plane just crashed?” the emergency operator responded in surprise.

“Yeah, it went nose first straight down into the ground … that plane nose-dived straight into the ground — there’s a big black cloud, it just exploded,” the caller said. “It was going and it barrel rolled right over and went straight into the ground.”

Other eyewitnesses frantically reported seeing the crash or hearing the explosion and were not quite sure what had happened.

“It looks like a total loss,” one man reported.

“It looks like it was just the airplane, I don’t see a vehicle impacted,” another caller said. “They came from about 500 feet above and went down in the freeway.”

The cause of the crash remains unknown. The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.

It was the second fatal plane crash in Utah this month. A small plane crashed in Butterfield Canyon on July 13, killing two people.

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Carter Williams is an award-winning reporter who covers general news, outdoors, history and sports for KSL.com.


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