LOCAL NEWS

Plane fell like a ‘corkscrew’ before fatal crash near Colorado border; cause remains unknown

Feb 29, 2024, 6:46 AM

Two people were killed in a plane crash in Grand County on Feb. 7. The National Transportation Safe...

Two people were killed in a plane crash in Grand County on Feb. 7. The National Transportation Safety Board released a preliminary report Wednesday on the crash. (National Transportation Safety Board)

(National Transportation Safety Board)

MOAB — The National Transportation Safety Board released a preliminary report Wednesday on a plane crash in Grand County that destroyed the plane and killed two people as it spiraled through the sky.

On Feb. 7, the Grand County Sheriff’s Office said it received a report just before noon of a downed aircraft in a remote area in the Book Cliffs area. The plane’s two occupants, Paul Michael Berliner and Darrin Du Ray Towe, both died in the crash.

The plane was a chartered aircraft en route to Tacoma, Washington, from the Grand Junction Regional Airport in Colorado, the sheriff’s office said. The report said the Hawker 900XP aircraft underwent routine maintenance and underwent inspections before being returned to service on Feb. 6.

The flight crew was to perform a “stall warning and systems check in accordance with the airframe manufacturer’s requirements” during the flight, the report said.

The plane left Grand Junction and climbed into the air before leveling off. Just a few minutes later, flight track data shows the plane began a rapid descent in a circular pattern that “resembled the shape of a corkscrew” and made multiple rotations before hitting the ground.

The cause of the plane’s descent has not been determined.

The safety board’s report said the aircraft’s major structures were all accounted for at the accident site, and a 200-foot debris path was traced from the main path to the end of a burn area.

The report said wreckage has been retained for further examination as the incident remains under investigation.

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Plane fell like a ‘corkscrew’ before fatal crash near Colorado border; cause remains unknown