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Woodland Hills man died in plane crash helping stranger, friend says

Published: Friday, Aug. 31 2012 12:15 p.m. MDT

A view of the scene where 2 men were killed in a plane crash north of Nephi on Thursday.

Sam Penrod

NEPHI — A Utah County man killed in a plane crash Thursday had agreed to accompany a pilot he didn't know for free so he could obtain enough training to fly the plane home, a friend said Friday.

Robert Lamb, 45, a flight instructor from Woodland Hills, and Peter Morwiec, 58, of Ontario, Canada, died in the plane crash near Nephi.

Family and friends of Lamb are devastated by this accident, but say they find some comfort in knowing he was doing what he loved and, more important, was helping someone out.

Lamb’s friend Andrea Anaya said he loved two things in life: his family and aviation.

“His love and his passion was flying,” she said. “He loved to fly, so he died doing exactly what he loved.”

Lamb didn't know Morwiec, but offered — without charge — to give him five hours of training in the plane, so he could be qualified to fly it home to Canada. Lamb told his wife he felt he had to help Morwiec.

“She asked why he was going, since he wasn’t getting paid and didn’t know him, and he said, ‘If I was stranded and couldn’t get home, I would hope someone would help me,' and that’s why he went,” Anaya said.

The Alarus CH2000 aircraft went down about 4:30 p.m. west of state Route 132 and north of the Nephi Municipal Airport, at about the same time a thunderstorm hit the area.

Reid Jarrett was working in his ranch when he watched the plane drop out of the sky.

“A really, really hard gust of wind was blowing right then, and a storm was coming in and the plane just literally went up and turned and came straight down and hit,” he said. “I’m sure nobody survived past the point of impact.”

Professionally, Lamb was a successful contractor. He obtained his pilot's license more than 20 years ago, but in just the past couple of years had become a certified flight instructor and started a flight training business at the Spanish Fork Airport.

He walked away from another plane crash in southern Utah just four months ago.

As Lamb's family and friends mourn for him, they also realize another family is hurting, too. “Our hearts go out to the family of the other man,” Anaya said.

Lamb is survived by his wife and five children, including a son on an LDS mission in South America. Those who would like to share their memories of Lamb for his children, can do so on the Facebook page "Letters for Robert Lamb."

It will likely be several months before investigators issue a final report on the cause of the crash, but bad weather is believed to be a leading factor in the crash.

E-mail: spenrod@ksl.com

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