Wreckage of the plane was discovered near the Dark Canyon Plateau on April 26. Killed in the crash were a pilot from Price, UT and a father and son from west Texas.
Larry Newby, age 55, the chief pilot for Red Tail Aviation in Price, was hired by Wade and Kyle Richardson to guide them through the canyon country. The Richardsons arrived in Price on their own plane, a Cessna A185F.
The group left from Price and did not return at the end of the day.
The San Juan County Sheriff’s office said Red Tail Aviation contacted authorities late on April 25 to report the plane had gone missing at about 1:30 p.m. that afternoon and had not been heard from for several hours.
Deputies, with assistance from the Utah Highway Patrol Helicopter, flew to the last-known GPS coordinates recorded by the plane’s spot beacon where they found burning wreckage.
It is believed that the single-engine Cessna A185F crashed after taking off from a small backcountry air field, just outside the Dark Canyon Wilderness area. After liftoff, the plane flew east but crashed for unknown reasons about one mile from the airstrip.
The bodies of the victims were air lifted from the crash scene by the UHP helicopter to Highway 95, where San Juan County Deputies and Search and Rescue personal transported the victim’s remains to Blanding, then to the Office of the Utah Medical Examiner in Salt Lake City.
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board were expected to invesigate the accident at the crash site. A report will be released on the estimated causes of the crash.
Newby, age 55, was the chief pilot for Red Tail Aviation. He was a renowned pilot with more than 30 years of experience.
Kyle Richardson, age 28 of Midland, TX, is listed as the owner of the plane. He was a petroleum engineer who also owned several Dairy Queen restaurants in west Texas.
The Sheriff’s office did not indicate if it was Richardson or Newby who was flying the plane when the crash occurred.
Wade Richardson, a farmer from Ozona, TX, was traveling with his son.
There are a large number of isolated airstrips throughout the rugged back country of San Juan County. Officials have stated that they do not know how many airplanes use the isolated strips. The Dark Canyon Plateau airstrip is extremely remote and is more than 30 miles from the nearest paved road.