Plane crashes into Roy home
Pilot, co-pilot walk away from crash; no one on ground injured
By Wendy Leonard and Joseph M. Dougherty
Deseret Morning News
ROY ó A small plane crashed into a home minutes after taking off from the Ogden-Hinckley Airport on Tuesday.
Brian Nicholson , for the Deseret Morning News
Roy firefighter Jim Robinson, left, and Riverdale firefighter Matt Rhoades survey the damage after an aircraft's wing landed in a Roy yard. The plane's two occupants were injured but walked away from the crash. No one on the ground was hurt.
Not even the home insurance carriers believed it when Denise Colson called to report that her home had been hit by a plane.
"It's just crazy," she said. "You never think this is going to happen. I still can't believe it happened."
At 6:28 p.m., the single-engine plane crashed into the home at 2133 W. 4300 South and burst into flames. No one was home at the time, but police evacuated nearly 100 people from about 30 homes in the neighborhood.
The two men in the plane, both local and in their mid-40s, were taken to Ogden Regional Medical Center in serious condition. Their injuries appeared to be concentrated on their skin, said Roy Fire Chief Jon Ritchie.
"They apparently were going out for an evening flight when they lost control of the aircraft, which rolled upside down as it landed in the house," he said.
A wing landed in the back yard of a nearby home and the transformer from a power pole landed in another.
Jodie Hipwell was in her home, about two doors down, when the plane crashed.
"It was weird," she said. "We heard a pop and all of a sudden we had no power."
She said that since she lives close to the airport it is common to hear planes coming close.
"But this was too close for comfort," Hipwell said. "I'm still shaking."
Her husband ran to the scene and helped the pilot and co-pilot escape the home before the fuel tank exploded.
Chris McWilliams, also a neighbor, saw the plane sputter as it was about to pass overhead. He heard an explosion, which he said was probably the plane's wing slamming into the power pole.
The plane then fell into the home. McWilliams left his running car in the street with the doors open and ran to the home's back yard to help. When he got there, a ladder was already propped against the home and he helped steady it while two men climbed from the plane, out of a bedroom window and down the ladder, he said.
He said the pilot seemed disoriented but was able to tell McWilliams and firefighters arriving on scene that he had just put 50 gallons of fuel in the plane. Ritchie said the pilot also shut off the plane's fuel system before he got out.
Roy City patrolman Curtis Mortenson was patrolling the area nearby when the plane took off on what usually is a normal flight path for small planes.
"I watched a plane that wasn't going to make it and I knew it wasn't going to right away," he said.
He said he arrived at the home not more than 30 seconds after the plane left his line of sight and the home was already engulfed in 30-foot flames.
"It didn't take long for the whole thing to go," Mortenson said.
Ritchie said the home "is probably not a total loss."
He said the family and their dog won't be allowed back into the home until the Federal Aviation Administration can investigate the crash.
"Just about everything we own is in that house," Colson said. "It's us and three kids, all our stuff and our clothes. I don't know what we'll do about it."
Jeremy Esplin, who also lives in the home, said his friends probably won't believe him when he tells them what happened.
"I just hope my shotgun is all right," he said. Out of all of his belongings inside the home, he was most worried about the firearm.
Kerry Jensen, KSL-TV Chopper 5
A single-engine airplane that was taking off from the Ogden-Hinckley Airport crashed into a nearby home in Roy on Tuesday evening. Police kept an eye on the home all night, waiting for officials to complete the investigation and allow the family back in.
Everyone who was evacuated was accounted for, Roy Police Chief Greg Whinham said, and there were no injuries to residents.
Residents were able to re-enter all but three homes Tuesday night. Ritchie said officials were working on draining the fuel out of the wing that landed in the neighbor's back yard.
Utah Power spokesman Dave Eskelsen said nearly 113 customers lost power because of the crash. Power was restored by 10 p.m.
Whinham noted this isn't the first time a plane has devastated this neighborhood. In July 1999, about two blocks east of Tuesday's crash, four Ogden residents were killed instantly when their single-engine plane crashed into the back yard of a home while the plane was trying while trying to return to the Ogden airport. No one on the ground was hurt.
Investigators determined that crash was caused by too much weight onboard the aircraft, and said tower officials recognized the plane was struggling as it took off.
"The real story here is that no one was hurt," Ritchie said of Tuesday's crash. "It's amazing. They walked away."
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Utah-Plane Crashes into House
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