39 lives lost in Utah plane crashes in last 5 years; I-15 crash most deadly

39 lives lost in Utah plane crashes in last 5 years; I-15 crash most deadly

(Matt Glines)

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SALT LAKE CITY — Commuters and passers-by alike were shocked when a small plane crashed down onto I-15 in Riverdale Wednesday, killing two Weber County couples aboard the aircraft. The accident was the deadliest in Utah in five years.

There have been a little over 100 plane accidents in Utah in the last five years, 22 of which were fatal. The I-15 crash, however, is the deadliest plane accident since 2012 when four people died in the mountains near Duck Creek Village in May, according to the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board.

Since then, 39 people have lost their lives in Utah plane crashes, including the passengers on board Wednesday’s flight. In the last two years, 17 people have died in eight fatal crashes in the state:

Riverdale: 4 fatalities

Two couples from Weber County died Wednesday when a small plane crashed down onto I-15 in Riverdale. Layne and Diana Clarke, ages 48 and 46, of Taylor, Utah, were killed in the crash along with Perry and Sarah Huffaker, ages 45 and 42, of West Haven.

It has not yet been identified who was flying the plane, but the aircraft took off from the Ogden-Hinckley Airport shortly before 1 p.m. then crashed a half-mile away for unknown reasons, according to the FAA.


Herriman: 2 fatalities

Two died when a plane crashed in Butterfield Canyon July 14. Utah Army National Guard Capt. Nicholas Thomas, 34, was killed in the accident with Jacob McGoldrick, 37.

The crash ignited a small fire that crews were able to extinguish. The FAA and NTSB are still investigating the crash.

Panguitch: 3 fatalities

A plane carrying a Sandy LDS bishop and his two children crashed near the lower Bear Valley area northwest of Panguitch Feb. 25 after likely flying too low. Randall Wells, 41, Asher Wells, 8, and Sara, 3, died in the crash.

Wells was the bishop of the Mount Jordan 3rd Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was described as an experienced pilot who had spoken about flying often.

Moab: 1 fatality

One man died in a plane crash in Moab early on the morning of Dec. 12, 2016, after hitting a high tension power line shortly after takeoff from the Canyonlands Field Airport. The plane went down about a mile from the airport, and the pilot died on impact.

Donald Kim Ruble, 65, of Moab, was a contracted pilot for a company that moves freight. The plane was headed to Green River and then to Salt Lake City.

Logan: 1 fatality

A Utah State University aviation student died in a plane crash July 18, 2016, while flying as part of the school’s pilot training program.

Frank Marino De Leon Compres, 21, of the Dominican Republic, was flying over an area of hilly farmland between Hyrum and Paradise when his single-engine, DA-40 Diamond Aircraft plane crashed. De Leon Compres was a senior in Utah State’s aviation technology and professional pilot programs.

De Leon Compres’ death was the first in the history of the USU aviation program.

Cedar Fort: 2 fatalities

Two people died in a plane crash in Cedar Fort June 18, 2016, after going down about a mile east of state Route 73. Donald Baker, 59, and his wife Dawn Hunter, 55, of Tucson, Arizona, were returning home after a conference in Park City when the plane caught fire.

Baker, who was flying the plane, made a distress call before the plane crashed. The aircraft was a twin-engine jet capable of carrying as many as 10 people, but the husband and wife were the only passengers aboard.

Hurricane: 2 fatalities

Two died in a plane crash in Hurricane on Dec. 10, 2015, after a plane landed in an undeveloped, private piece of land. Shawn Ackerman, 56, and Bonnie Ackerman, 49, of Hurricane, were traveling extremely low when their plane crashed. They were both killed instantly.

Cedar City: 2 fatalities

Two Southern Utah University flight instructors died October 5, 2015, when the plane they were in crashed near Cedar City Regional Airport.

The plane crashed into Lake Quichapa, a dry lake that was muddier than usual because of recent rainfall. Had the lake been drier, the landing may have been smoother. However, both men died at the scene of the crash.

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