June 20, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — The NTSB spokesman has confirmed to Gephardt Daily that two people died in the Thursday night crash of a small plane in Tooele County, and Utah Fire Info officials have revealed that crash is what sparked the Morgan Canyon Fire, which had grown to 37 acres at last report.
Keith Holloway, media relations officer with the National Transportation Safety Board, said the crash of the small plane, a Piper PA-28-140, was originally believed to have happened at 10:50 p.m. Friday, but in fact happened at 10:50 p.m. on Thursday.
The two people aboard were both found dead after the crash, Holloway said, adding the NTSB does not have victim information to release. That would fall to local authorities, he said. The Tooele County Sheriff’s Office has not yet returned calls placed by Gephardt Daily.
“We have wrapped up the on-scene portion of the investigation,” Holloway said. “The aircraft should be removed sometime this week.”
Holloway said the NTSB will release a preliminary report on the crash within about 12 business days, but it will not address the cause, which will only be shared in the final report.
Morgan Canyon Fire
Utah Fire Info revealed on Sunday that investigators confirmed the cause of the Morgan Canyon Fire “was the result of a downed aircraft in the Desert Peak Wilderness.” The NTSB and Tooele County Sheriff’s Office are assisting in the investigation, the UFI statement says.
The fire was zero percent contained as of Sunday morning.
“Air resources continue to be utilized, with helicopters hauling crews up to access the fire, as well as bucket drops on hotspots,” the Utah Fire Info statement says.
“The terrain is rough and steep with many hazards, such as rolling rocks and fire-weakened timber. Fire managers are considering all suppression strategies available while prioritizing firefighter safety.”
Full suppression tactics are being utilized due to the current weather situation,” the statement says. A Fuels and Fire Behavior Advisory is in effect, with high temperatures and extreme drought conditions.
Resources assigned to the fire, Utah Fire Info says, include 112 personnel, including two hotspot crews, one Type-1 module, a type 2 AI crew, a Helitack crew, two type 1 helicopters, two specialist firefighting crews, local engineers, and water tenders.
Gephardt Daily will have more information on this story as it develops.