BIRDSEYE, Utah County — A plane crashed near Spanish Fork on Thursday, killing a South Jordan man and critically injuring the Orem pilot.
The Cessna 172 reported about 10:25 a.m. that there was a fire in the cockpit and that the pilot was going to attempt to land on U.S. 89, said Utah County Sheriff's Lt. Yvette Rice.
At almost the same time the Salt Lake City International Airport was relaying that information, the Utah Highway Patrol reported a plane crash off to the side of U.S. 89 near Birdseye.
Passenger Gerald Wilson, 50, of South Jordan, was killed in the crash. Pilot Nicholas Soter, 66, of Orem, was taken to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in critical condition.
The plane wreckage partially blocked the highway, according to the UHP.
Tom Hirtzel came upon the accident minutes after it happened. The plane ended up with its tail sticking out of a ditch and the nose of the plane pinned down. Most of the plane was intact following the crash, he said.
Hirtzel and several others worked for about 25 minutes to get Soter out of the plane.
"It was tough because the person who survived was kind of awkwardly in the wreckage," he said. "I didn't really think about it too much. We just recognized we needed to get him out. He was upside-down and in a very precarious position. We were worried he wouldn't survive if we couldn't get him out and breathing in a more comfortable way."
Hirtzel said the aircraft hit power lines on the way down.
"It basically looked like to me the plane was having some kind of trouble and was trying to land on the highway. And it very obviously clipped power lines. Those power lines were kind of in the grass," he said.
Contributing: Jennifer Stagg
- Mom battling cancer determined to live for...
- The ghosts under our feet: 88...
- Police chief of Myton charged with stalking 3...
- Provo ranked 4th most educated city in...
- Utah has some of the rudest drivers,...
- 3 South Jordan siblings battling rare disease...
- Love says commenting on Saratoga Springs...
- Police: Panhandler pulls woman from car after...
- Jason Chaffetz: Mitt Romney is leaving... 69
- Was Saratoga Springs man killed while... 52
- Police break silence about... 49
- Friends, family, strangers gather at... 35
- Utah has some of the rudest drivers,... 29
- Utah, Western states say feds are all... 25
- New definition of homeless would give... 20
- Saratoga Springs police chief calls... 18