RIVERDALE — The National Transportation Safety Board has published a new report that includes new details on a 2017 plane crash in Riverdale that killed four people.
The factual report, made public earlier this month, detailed the events leading up to the crash and following. The July 26, 2017, plane crash claimed the lives of Perry and Sarah Huffaker, along with Layne and Diana Clarke; all four were Weber County residents.
Listed on the document as the defining event of the crash is a “loss of control in flight.”
Investigators estimated that the weight of the plane at the time of the crash was roughly 3,853 pounds, taking into account the plane’s weight, pilot, passengers, fuel and baggage, according to the report.
According to the most recent weight and balance record for the airplane, which was recorded two years prior to the crash, shows the maximum gross weight was 3,833 pounds.
The report goes on to outline that the airplane’s engine was shipped to a facility for a “teardown examination,” but there were no pre-crash abnormalities in any of the internal engine parts. After analyzing the airplane’s fuel pump, investigators again found no pre-accident defects or abnormalities, the report says.
Shortly after the crash, investigators noted in a preliminary report that two aviation mechanics working at the Ogden-Hinckley Airport heard the airplane take off. The two said the plane sounded unusual and that the aircraft was only about 100 feet off the ground when it should have been about 500 feet above the ground.
The two told investigators that “the engine sounded under powered and that the tail of the airplane was moving up and down as if the pilot was struggling to keep the airplane airborne,” the report says.
The report also includes the cause of death to the pilot, later found to be Layne Clarke, which was found to be “multiple blunt and thermal injuries.” A toxicology report performed by the FAA’s Forensic Sciences Laboratory, and the test came back negative for “drugs, carbon monoxide and volatiles.”
A definitive cause of the crash was not included in the report, and will likely be released later this year. Terry Williams, a spokesperson for the NTSB, said Thursday that the investigation is in the analysis phase, where investigators will examine all available information to make a determination on what caused the crash.
The July airplane crash was the first of two fatal crashes connected to the Ogden airport in 2017.
Near the end of December 2017, two men, Denny Mansell, 71, and Peter Ellis, 74, went missing after family members told police the two had not returned from their flight. Two weeks later, their bodies and the plane were found in the Great Salt Lake. A final report for the crash was not available as of Friday morning.
Recently, the family of Perry and Sarah Huffaker filed a lawsuit in 2nd District Court against Eagle Fuel Cells of Eagle River, Wisconsin. The lawsuit was later transferred to the U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City.
The complaint alleges product liability, negligence and wrongful death due to the alleged faulty manufacture and operation of a fuel bladder in the airplane.