Sheriff: 10 dead in plane crash at Moab, Utah


by Associated Press


Posted on August 15, 2009 at 4:33 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 14 at 12:26 PM

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.

The plane was fully engulfed in flames when emergency responders arrived Friday evening 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 and staff members.

Nyland said the plane had taken off from the airport, about 18 miles northwest of Moab.

Lt. Steve White told KCYN radio in Moab that the plane "pancaked" and skidded along the ground.

The airplane was a Beech King Air A-100, 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. NTSB spokesman Keith Holloway said the agency's preliminary report will take five to 10 days to complete.

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, 52; 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, part of the Cedar City-based Leavitt Group, an insurance brokerage. The dermatology group had a time-share agreement with Leavitt Group for use of the plane, said chief executive officer Dane Leavitt.

The group's clinics focused on preventing and treating skin cancer in smaller communities that might otherwise go without care, Leavitt said. "I'm sure the tragedy of this circumstance will hit all of those communities," he said.

He said they left Cedar City on Friday morning to spend the day at their clinic in Moab, and were likely starting their return flight when the plane crashed.

The pilot was an employee of Leavitt Group Wings, Leavitt said.

"He was very well qualified. He'd flown that plane for hundreds of hours. He'd flown this route many times," Leavitt said.

The airplane was built in 1975 and was well-maintained, Leavitt said. His company has owned it for six years.

Moab is about 245 miles southeast of Salt Lake City.