4 dead after small plane crashes on I-15 near Riverdale Road

Wednesday , July 26, 2017 - 12:52 PM9 comments

Standard-Examiner Staff

RIVERDALE — Four people are dead after a single-engine airplane crashed along Interstate 15 near the Riverdale Road exit Wednesday. 

UPDATE: Victims of I-15 plane crash identified as West Haven, Taylor couples

Weber County emergency dispatchers said crews were called to the crash at about 12:40 p.m. Wednesday, July 26. The aircraft hit the interstate’s eastern edge, went across the northbound lanes and settled in the median, Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Todd Royce said. 

Witnesses said the plane exploded, and Royce said it caught fire in the median. As the smoke and flames began to clear, charred pieces of the aircraft were scattered across the road’s northbound lanes.

RELATED: Delays expected on I-15, Riverdale Road throughout evening after plane crash

PHOTO GALLERY: Fatal plane crash shuts down traffic along Interstate 15

Though it crashed into multiple lanes of traffic, the plane — which was traveling west after leaving Ogden-Hinckley Airport — didn’t hit any vehicles. 

“Miraculously at the time, it seemed there was just a gap in the vehicles where it hit and came across ... no other injuries sustained besides the four fatalities,” Royce said. “Our thoughts go out to the families. It’s a tragic, tragic, tragic incident.”

Story continues after the video.

Allen Kenitzer, public information officer for the Federal Aviation Administration’s northwest mountain region, confirmed the four people who died were the plane’s only passengers. 

Story continues after the video.

The plane was a Beech A36 Bonanza, according to Kenitzer. It departed from Ogden-Hinckley Airport on Runway 17 and crashed about half a mile southwest of the airport.

The names of those who died in the crash have not been released, Royce said. Officials had begun notifying their family members as of about 2 p.m., Royce said.

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Information about what caused the crash or where the plane was going was unavailable as of Wednesday afternoon.

All northbound lanes of the interstate were closed Wednesday afternoon, and only one southbound lane was open, according to Utah Public Safety. Drivers should expect significant delays throughout the afternoon and into the evening.

Obdulio Ruiz, a truck driver from Los Angeles, was at the scene of the crash and said he saw the plane go down. It crashed in front of his tanker truck, which he said was carrying flammable chemicals.

“It was completely out of control,” Ruiz said. “I think they were trying to come down over the freeway, but they couldn’t. They just crashed, and there was a ball of fire.”

Ruiz said he was traveling 60 or 65 mph when the plane came down in front of his vehicle, but he was able to stop and avoid the fire.

“I said, ‘Oh my God, it’s going to kill me,’ because I had flammables,” he said. “It was so scary.” 

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Kat Yoder said she and her mom were standing in a parking lot just east of the interstate and crash site when the plane crashed.

“(My mom) said to me, ‘The plane’s coming in really, really low.’” 

Yoder looked toward I-15. She didn’t see the plane coming in but saw the crash.

“It was an immediate explosion,” she said. “It was evident that there was not anything you could do for them. Surprisingly, there were not any vehicles that were in the crash. I couldn’t believe that.” 

Yoder said drivers with fire extinguishers rushed to the site of the crash and helped put out flames along the side of the road.

Story continues after the video.

The crash is being investigated by the Utah Highway Patrol, Utah State Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.

This is a developing story. The Standard-Examiner will update as more information is available. 

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