Federal plane crash investigators arrived in West Jordan, Utah, to open a probe of a private airplane that collided with a suburban home July 25, killing four adults and a baby and injuring three others.
The plane crash killed Lee Wyckoff, 43, of Bumpass, Virginia; his 9-month-old baby girl Coral; and Milda Shibonis, 36, a family and personal injury lawyer from Salt Lake City. Mr. Wyckoff’s wife Rebecca, 36, and her 2-year-old son Cody Mitchell, were critically injured, as was one person on the ground: 72-year-old Mary Quintana, who was sitting on the deck of her West Jordan home when the plane hit it. Ms. Quintana succumbed to her injuries the following Monday.
Ms. Shibonis’ 12-year-old daughter Veda Sheperd, was also on the plane and survived with minor injuries. She was treated at Salt Lake City hospital and released shortly after.
According to Salt Lake City’s FOX 13, the single-engine 1975 Piper PA-32R took off Saturday from South Valley Regional Airport just south of Salt Lake City at 1:37 p.m. The plane was headed to Page, Arizona.
Data from the flight tracking website flightaware.com indicates the plane experienced trouble almost immediately after takeoff. The aircraft climbed to an altitude of 4,500 feet at 198 mph. But as it reached 4,600 feet its airspeed dropped dramatically to 113 mph. That was the last data the flight tracking software registered. The plane crashed just 1.3 miles from the airport.
One witness who saw the plane crash told Salt Lake City’s KSL.com that it looked like the airplane was gliding.
“It looked like they just couldn’t get it to crank back up and get it out of the stall,” the witness said. Another neighbor who witnessed the crash told KSL.com that the plane was spiraling downward.
The crash set off a massive blaze and released a plume of smoke that drew neighbors who rushed to the scene trying to help the people out of the fiery wreckage.
One neighbor said that Ms. Quintana was covered in burns. According to the Daily Mail, she remained heavily sedated in the hospital until her passing. The 2-year-old boy, Cody, suffered burns to his arms and legs. His mother, Rebecca Wyckoff, remains in the hospital in critical condition.
Ms. Quintana’s home was destroyed by the crash and subsequent fire. Two other neighboring homes were extensively damaged.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) sent personnel to the crash site over the weekend after the crash to open an investigation.
The NTSB is actively investigating other recent crashes involving Piper aircraft, including a Piper PA-32 that crashed near Selma in June killing two Navy fighter pilots; a Piper PA31-T that crashed in south Georgia also last month, killing five family members; a Piper PA 28-235 that went down near Carlinville, Illinois last month, killing four fraternity brothers; and a crash involving a Piper PA-31T in Lafayette, Louisiana in December that killed five people, including sports journalist Carley Ann McCord; to name a few.
Airplane crash litigation
Beasley Allen lawyer Mike Andrews focuses much of his practice on aviation litigation and has represented people seriously injured in a variety of aviation crashes, and the families of those killed in both civilian and military airplane crashes and helicopter crashes similar to the one described above. Mike also currently represents families of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 victims involving the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.