14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, May 26, 2012 in St. George, UT
Aircraft: CESSNA 172S, registration: N953SP
Injuries: 4 Fatal.
This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
On May 26, 2012, about 0120 mountain daylight time, a Cessna 172S, N953SP, collided with terrain shortly after departing from St. George Municipal Airport, St. George, Utah. Diamond Flying LLC was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The commercial pilot and three passenger sustained fatal injuries; the airplane sustained substantial damage. The local personal flight was departing from St. George with a planned destination of Mesquite, Nevada. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.
A review of the recorded security camera footage at the airport revealed that the airplane could be seen in the nighttime conditions by the blinking left-wing strobe light and the navigation light mounted on the tail. The airplane appeared to depart from runway 19 and maneuver at a low altitude for the length of the runway while increasing its airspeed. Near the end of the runway, the airplane began a rapid ascent and continued out of the view of the camera. After about 7 seconds, the airplane reappears further down the frame in a rapid descent.
The accident site was located in the hard dirt area (the southerly primary surface) adjacent to the departure end of runway 19. Situated on the level terrain, the airplane came to rest in an inverted attitude and was oriented on a 315-degree magnetic bearing. The main wreckage, which consisted of a majority of the airframe and engine, was located about 525 feet from the edge of the runway's center point.
The first identified point of impact was a ground scar impression about 40 feet from the main wreckage that dimensionally and geometrically resembled the wings with a crater-like impression in between. The span of the ground disturbance was about 36.5 feet, with red lens fragments located near the east side and green fragments on the westerly side; the airplane's wingspan was 36.1 feet. Imbedded in the center crater was a portion of a propeller blade and the nose wheel. In the debris field from the ground scar to the main wreckage was the oil sump, the propeller, and engine accessories.
A routine aviation weather report (METAR) generated by an Automated Surface Observation System (ASOS) at the airport, indicated that about 5 minutes prior to the accident the conditions were as follows: wind was from 260 degrees at 9 knots; temperature 66 degrees Fahrenheit; dew point 28 degrees Fahrenheit; and altimeter 29.60 inHg.
ST. GEORGE – The Federal Aviation Administration investigation into the recent plane crash of May 26, 2012, at St. George Municipal Airport seeks public input.
FAA Inspector Lewis Olsen, out of Salt Lake City, is the investigator in charge of the FAA investigation. He said that he has confirmed that Tanner Holt flew the plane that was involved in the crash of May 26 to Phoenix, Ariz., and back to St. George the week before the crash, returning on May 20. He has not been able to identify the airport in Phoenix that Holt flew into and out of.
“I need to calculate the weight and balance,” said Olsen. In order to do so, he said he needs to determine “how much fuel could he possibly have on board.”
Olsen asked that anyone who knows the passengers that accompanied Holt to Phoenix, and those passengers themselves, contact him directly. He said the questions he will ask are: ”Who went to Phoenix? Where did you park? Did you see him get fuel? And, if so, how much?”
Olsen said that the bodies of the victims of the crash have been transported to the coroner in Salt Lake City.
“Amongst the four there is the smell of alcohol,” Olsen said. “We are doing toxicology.”
He said toxicology is being run on more than just one of them.
Anyone with any information to assist Olsen in his investigation is asked to contact him as follows:
The FAA Investigation is a separate investigation from that being performed by the National Transportation Safety Board.
IDENTIFICATION Regis#: 953SP Make/Model: C172 Description: Skyhawk Date: 05/26/2012 Time: 0800 Event Type: Accident Highest Injury: Fatal Mid Air: N Missing: N Damage: Substantial LOCATION City: SAINT GEORGE State: UT Country: US DESCRIPTION AIRCRAFT CRASHED ON TAKEOFF UNDER UNKNOWN CIRCUMSTANCES. ST. GEORGE, UT INJURY DATA Total Fatal: 4 # Crew: 0 Fat: 1 Ser: 0 Min: 0 Unk: # Pass: 0 Fat: 3 Ser: 0 Min: 0 Unk: # Grnd: Fat: 0 Ser: 0 Min: 0 Unk: OTHER DATA Activity: Unknown Phase: Take-off Operation: OTHER FAA FSDO: SALT LAKE CITY, UT (NM07) Entry date: 05/29/2012