Four people were killed when a plane plummeted on a highway near Salt Lake City, Utah, shortly after takeoff, bursting into flames.
The Utah Department of Public Safety identified the two couples that were aboard the aircraft as Layne and Diana Clarke, and Perry and Sarah Huffaker. Officials said the couples were traveling to Idaho for vacation. Fox 13 reports that the victims are members of the Mormon faith. The Huffakers have four children, and two currently are serving missions overseas.
The airplane’s pilot, Layne Clarke, also tragically lost a brother in an aviation accident 15 years ago.
The debris from the Beechcraft Bonanza A36 littered I-15 near Riverdale, Utah, closing most lanes for about 8 hours after the wreckage caught fire and left a black and smoldering sight for witnesses. There were no reports of injuries on the ground.
The NTSB and the FAA are heading up an investigation into the cause of the crash. The wreckage has been moved to a secure location for examination by investigators to determine if there was any mechanical malfunction.
Driver April Demetropolis was on her way to work when the plane crashed so close to her car that she felt the reverberation and heat from the explosion, the Deseret News reported. "Out of nowhere from the east side, a plane came swooping in and just nose-dived into the middle of the freeway," Demetropolis said.