News / Utah / 

Meghan Thackery, KSL TV

Authorities identify 4 killed in American Fork Canyon plane crash

By Yvette Cruz and Lauren Bennett, | Updated - Jul. 4, 2020 at 5:40 p.m. | Posted - Jul. 3, 2020 at 11:27 a.m.

1 photo

Show 1 more video

SALT LAKE CITY — Four people who died in a plane crash Friday morning in American Fork Canyon have been identified.

The Cessna 172 crashed in the Box Elder Peak area above Granite Flat Campground shortly before 8 a.m., according to a news release form Utah County Sheriff’s Sgt. Spencer Cannon.

The pilot has been identified as Tyson Colby Brummett, 35, of Salt Lake City.

Alex Blackhurst Ruegner, 35, of Riverton, also died in the crash, along with Alex's aunt and uncle: Elaine W. Blackhurst, 60, and Douglas Robinson Blackhurst, 62, both of Riverton.

A man who was hiking in the area with his two sons saw the plane spiral downward and hiked up further to call 911, officials said. That witness then went to where the plane crashed and found all the occupants dead.

Search and rescue crews, along with the Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter and Lone Peak Fire responded to the crash and verified all four had died on impact.

Their bodies were transported to the medical examiner’s office in Taylorsville.

Cannon said the Cessna took off from South Valley Regional Airport in West Jordan. The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the crash.

Brummett, 35, was a former Major League pitcher who was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2007 out of UCLA. The Spanish Fork High product played two seasons with the Bruins after two years at Central Arizona Community College.

In this Feb. 3, 2012, file photo, Venezuela's starting pitcher Tyson Brummett throws in the first inning against against Dominican Republic at a Caribbean Series baseball game at Quisqueya stadium in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Former Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Brummett and three others died in a plane crash in rural Utah. The Utah County Sheriff’s Office says ex-pitcher 35-year-old Brummett of Salt Lake City was flying the small plane, which crashed near Box Elder Peak in American Fork Canyon just before 8 a.m. Friday, July 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano, File)

He spent most of his career in the Phillies’ farm system, going from the Double-A Reading Phillies in 2007-08, before splitting time with the Single-A Clearwater Thrashers and Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs between 2009 and 2012, amassing a 14-30 record over 121 games, including 30 starts.

“The Phillies organization sends heartfelt condolences to the family of and friends of former pitcher Tyson Brummett, along with three members of the Ruegner and Blackhurst families, who tragically passed away in a plane crash yesterday morning," the team said in a statement Saturday.

Brummett also spent time with the Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Dodgers before a two-year stint with Tiburones de La Guaira in Venezuela prior to his retirement from the sport to become a certified flight instructor.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Brummett became involved with Goggles for Docs, a nonprofit that helps health care workers who are struggling to find traditional eye protection by donating old ski and snowboard goggles to front-line workers.

Contributing: Emerson Oligschlaeger, KSL TV; Sean Walker,


Yvette Cruz
Lauren Bennett

KSL Weather Forecast