New details from fatal Provo plane crash released

Jan 25, 2023, 4:20 PM
Wreckage from a Provo plane crash...
Wreckage is seen on a runway after a plane crashed at the Provo Municipal Airport on Jan. 2, 2023. (KSL TV)

PROVO, Utah — A preliminary report on a fatal plane crash at Provo Municipal Airport on Jan. 2 indicated the plane was trying to beat the weather.

The National Transportation Safety Board released the report Wednesday. The crash killed the pilot, seriously injured two passengers, and left one other passenger with minor injuries.

A man fueling the plane told investigators that the pilot mentioned that they were trying to beat the weather. Snow and misty rain had just started to fall.

One dead, one critically injured after small plane crash at Provo airport

According to the report, the fueler told investigators the pilot pulled the plane out onto the runway.

“He heard the airplane, and turned around to watch it. The fueler stated that the airplane was starting its takeoff roll on runway 13, and appeared to ‘pull up steep,’ roll to the left, and the left wing impacted the ground,” the report stated. “Additional witnesses located at the airport observed the accident airplane takeoff, ascend to about 20 to 30 ft above ground level, and then both wings wobbled ‘back and forth.’ The airplane banked right, and then ‘hard left’ as the left wing struck the ground.”

The NTSB report did not include a cause for the crash.

NTSB overview of accident site

An aerial overview illustrates the condition of the accident site. Image courtesy of (Provo Police Department with NTSB annotations)

The report said the plane’s wing left a 91-foot-long scrape on the runway and pieces of the plane scattered nearly 700 feet from the impact site.

The airport was closed for days after the crash and left hundreds of passengers scrambling to make other arrangements.

The pilot was identified as Nathan Ricks, a Utah entrepreneur and businessman. Ricks was said to be the largest distributor in the history of Nu Skin Enterprises.

Diana Zisselman said her family knew Ricks for 12 years. She said he supported the family through health struggles and he was all about family and serving others.

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New details from fatal Provo plane crash released