A single-engine airplane en route to Utah’s Bryce Canyon National Park from a Las Vegas airport crashed in a remote mountainous region Tuesday, killing four people. The crash was the second deadly aviation accident to occur in Southern Utah in less than a week.
According to authorities in Kane County Utah, the airplane, registered to Hunt Aviation LLC of Las Vegas, crashed about 3 p.m. A U.S. Air Force rescue coordination center in Florida contacted the Civil Air Patrol in southern Utah after picking up a distress signal from an emergency transmitter beacon emitted by the plane. Hunt Aviation also reported the airplane missing when it failed to arrive at its destination. A CAP pilot flew over the area and located the wreckage on a mountain about 18 miles north of Zion National Park.
Rescue workers were unable to reach the remote crash site Wednesday, but resumed rescue efforts at dawn on Thursday. All four people aboard the plane have been confirmed dead, but their identities have not yet been released.
On Saturday, a single-engine Cessna 172 airplane carrying four men in their 20s crashed shortly after taking off from St. George Municipal Airport, not far from Tuesday’s crash site. All four men aboard the plane were killed on impact, authorities said.
The airplane, owned by Diamond Flying LLC of St. George, Utah, crashed about 1:30 a.m. Saturday but wasn’t discovered until more than four hours later because the small airport isn’t staffed at night. The wreckage was found about 300 yard from the runway.
Investigators don’t yet know what caused the crash, but video surveillance of the airplane taking off reveals it flew at a low level along most of the runway before making a rapid ascent. The plane leaves the camera’s scope but two flashes of light can be seen on the video.
The victims of that crash have been identified as Colby Hafen, 28, and Christopher Chapman, 20, both of Santa Clara, Utah; Tanner Holt, 23, of Washington City, Utah, and Alexander Metzger, 22, of St. George. Mr. Holt, a licensed pilot who has flown commercially, is believed to have been piloting the airplane.