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4 killed in single-engine plane crash in southwestern Utah

April 24, 2022 GMT

CEDAR CITY, Utah (AP) — Four people were killed when a single-engine airplane on a sightseeing tour crashed minutes after takeoff in rural southwestern Utah, authorities said Sunday.

Deputies discovered the aircraft after responding to a report of a fire just before 7 p.m. Saturday about five miles east of Cedar City, the Iron County Sheriff’s Office said.

Pronounced dead at the scene were pilot Steven Eatchel and his wife Lindsay Eatchel of Springville Utah, Thomas Eatchel of Heber City Utah, and Danielle Deagostini of Sandy City, the sheriff’s office said.

The National Transportation Safety Board identified the aircraft as a Diamond DA-40 and said it was investigating the crash. No cause was immediately identified.

The plane earlier in the day flew from Spanish Fork to Cedar City, where it had a layover of about 2-1/2 hours at the regional airport before taking off and heading east toward some mountains for a sightseeing tour of Zion National Park, the sheriff’s office said.

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Radar communication with the aircraft was lost about four minutes after it took off. The position of the downed aircraft and damage to foliage at the crash site suggested it was headed west when it crashed, the sheriff’s office said.

Steven Eatchel had been working as a deputy in the Utah County jail and was married to Lindsay Eatchel, according to the Utah County Sheriff’s Office. The couple had four children.

Cedar City has about 35,000 people. It’s located about 250 miles south of Salt Lake City and roughly 50 miles from the borders of Arizona and Nevada.