Ten die in weekend plane crash near Moab
August 25, 2008
MOAB, Utah A twin-engine plane crashed and burned near an airport not far from Arches National Park in southeastern Utah, killing the pilot and nine passengers connected with a group of dermatology clinics, an official said Saturday.A twin-engine plane crashed and burned near an airport not far from Arches National Park in southeastern Utah, killing all 10 people on board, an official said Saturday.The plane was fully engulfed in flames when emergency responders arrived Friday night at the site about 2 miles from the Canyonlands Field airport, and there were no survivors, Grand County Sheriff James Nyland said.The victims included the director of a company with dermatology clinics in three states.Nyland said the plane had taken off from the airport, about 18 miles northwest of Moab. Officials said it crashed at about 6:15 p.m.Lt. Steve White told KCYN radio in Moab that the plane “pancaked” and skidded along the ground.The airplane was a Beech King Air A100, said Mike Fergus, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration in Seattle. He said that “to the best of our knowledge” no flight plan had been filed for the trip, but he said that isn’t unusual.Representatives of the National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA were expected at the scene Saturday, officials said.Nyland said the victims were the director of Red Canyon Aesthetics & Medical Spa, a dermatology clinic headquartered in Cedar City, his clinic staff and the pilot.He identified them as pilot David White; Dr. Lansing Ellsworth; David Goddard; Mandy Johnson; Marcie Tillery, 29; Valerie Imlay; Keith Shumway, 29; Dallon Ellsworth, 24; Camie Vigil, 25; and Cecilee Goddard, 25. Lansing and Dallon Ellsworth were father and son. David and Cecilee Goddard were father and daughter.Lansing Ellsworth had recently started a monthly skin clinic in Moab, Nyland said.Red Canyon Aesthetics has seven clinics in Utah, two in Nevada and one in Page, Ariz., according to the company’s Web site.The airplane was owned by Leavitt Group Wings, which is part of a the Cedar City-based Leavitt Group, an insurance brokerage. The dermatology group had a time-share agreement with the company for use of the plane, according to Dane Leavitt, the chief executive officer.The group frequently traveled to small communities in southern Utah, northern Arizona and Nevada. Their clinics focused on preventing and treating skin cancer, Leavitt said.He said the group took off Friday morning from Cedar City to spend the day at their clinic in Moab. They were likely starting their return flight when the plane crashed, he said.Leavitt said he believed nine of those on the plane were employees the clinic. The pilot, a former commercial airline pilot, was an employee of Leavitt Group Wings.”He was very well qualified. He’d flown that plane for hundreds of hours. He’d flown this route many times,” said Leavitt, who was friends with many aboard the plane.The clinic staff believed in bringing skin care services to smaller communities that might otherwise go without, he said.”All of them are loving, caring people,” Leavitt said. “I’m sure the tragedy of this circumstance will hit all of those communities.”The airplane, built in 1975, was well-maintained, Leavitt said. His company has owned it for six years.A two-member team from the NTSB will investigate the crash.Spokesman Keith Holloway said the agency couldn’t speculate on the cause until investigators arrive. A preliminary report will take five to 10 days, he said.