In addition, a part-time Blanding resident was killed in an airplane accident on May 25 while on his way to San Juan County.
Moab resident John W. Keys III, and a tourist from Scottsdale, AZ were killed on May 30 when an airplane piloted by Keys crashed near the Joint Trail in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. Both occupants were killed instantly.
Keys, who recently retired after serving as commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, was flying the airplane for Red Tail Aviation.
Part-time Blanding resident Shane Owens was killed in an accident on May 25. Owens was on his way from Payson, AZ to Blanding when he crashed soon after takeoff.
Other accidents involved isolated airstrips in San Juan County. Local law enforcement officials state that area residents may be suprised to know how often the isolated airstrips are used in San Juan County by backcountry enthusiasts.
Two accidents occurred on the same day in April, less than two hours apart.
In the first accident, a pilot from the McCall Mountain and Canyon Flying Seminars, of McCall, ID, damaged the tail of his airplane while practicing a landing on an isolated airstrip. After the accident, the pilot flew to the Blanding airport for repairs, where the airplane veered off the runway and flipped. No one was hurt.
Less than two hours later, another pilot from the same seminar was injured when he overshot the isolated runway on the Zohn Camp landing strip and tumbled down an embankment. The brand new airplane was destroyed and the pilot suffered a head injury.
Two more accidents have occurred in recent weeks on the isolated Nakai Dome landing strip. While wet weather may have caused the landing strip to be soft, the conditions have not been significantly different than normal.
In an additional accident, an airplane made an emergency landing on a sand bar in Zohn Bay in the San Juan arm of Lake Powell. No one was hurt.