ST. GEORGE – A preliminary report regarding the May 7 plane crash near Santa Clara that killed two men has been released by the National Transportation Safety Board. The report corresponds with initial information released by Washington County Sheriff’s Office surrounding the incident.
The crash involved a two-seat Cessna 150F plane occupied by Gary Hawes, 75, of St. George, and Brad Brian, 38, of Washington. The plane was registered to Above View Aviation. Hawes was identified as a flight instructor and Brian as a student pilot.
NTSB Investigator Thomas Little, who wrote the preliminary report, said the investigation is ongoing and could take six months to a year to complete.
The plane crashed into the side of a mountain in the Santa Clara River Reserve, an area crisscrossed with biking trails. The crash occurred around 8:55 a.m., and weather was reported as being clear with calm winds, the report stated.
The report confirms statements made by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office at the scene, and stated:
“…A witness reported that he and a family member were riding the Rim Trail when they observed the airplane overhead proceeding west. The witness stated that after a few minutes he heard the airplane ‘sputter’, and the(n) nose diving, then lost sight of it when it went behind a hill; he didn’t hear anything and couldn’t confirm that it had gone down. The witness reported that about an hour and a half later while riding on the Barrel Roll Trail, he came upon the airplane wreckage, and reported it to local authorities.”
Jonathan Hawkins was the one who witnessed the plane nose drive and also subsequently found the plane wreckage.
Little, along with representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration and others, visited the crash site on May 8 and began an examination. Little noted in his report that, “The underside of the cockpit/cabin area sustained significant deformation due to severe impact damage with the rock-laden terrain.”
All components needed for flight were accounted for at the crash site, the report stated.
As the report is preliminary, findings are subject to change pending completion of the investigation which will be releases in a future, final report.
The preliminary report can be read in full here.
- Plane crash victims identified; video of crash site
- Two killed in plane crash near Santa Clara; STGnews Videocast
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.