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Four dead in American Fork plane crash

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Search and rescue personal survey an airplane that crashed above the Granite Flat campground in the Box Elder Peak area of American Fork Canyon on Friday July 3, 2020. Four people died in the crash.

Meghan Thackery, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Four people are dead following the crash of a small plane Friday morning in American Fork Canyon.

The crash occurred above the Granite Flat campground in the Box Elder Peak area, according to Utah County Sheriff’s Sgt. Spencer Cannon.

The Utah County Sheriff’s Office received a call about the crash just minutes before 8 a.m. They were told by a witness that he and his two sons were hiking when they saw the plane begin to turn then spiral down toward the earth, according to Cannon.

The witness, Gregg Rawlings, was on a hike with his two teenage sons in the area Friday morning when they saw the plane getting closer and closer to where they stood overlooking the canyon.

“Seconds later we heard this thud, and we knew it had wrecked and hit the bottom of the canyon. At that point we were all a bit in shock,” Rawlings said. “We knew we had to quickly help.”

Rawlings said they didn’t have service at the time so he and his sons hiked farther up the mountain until they were able to make contact with dispatch. Upon notifying dispatch about the crash, Rawlings said they made their way down to the wreckage.

“I said, ‘OK, that is someone’s family down there. We need to get down to that wreckage as quickly as we can. One, we need to see if by chance there are any survivors and what we can do to help. Two, we need to get the exact coordinates of that plane wreck,’” he said.

According to Rawlings, it was pretty evident from what they saw that there were no survivors in the crash. From there, he and his sons hiked back up the canyon to give dispatch the exact coordinates.

Teams arrived shortly after.

“We were in the right place at the right time to witness everything that went on, so I was just happy there was not hours and hours spent of people’s time trying to find the wreckage somewhere in the mountains,” he said.

Cannon identified the passengers as pilot Tyson Colby Brummett, 35, of Salt Lake City; Alex Blackhurst Ruegner, 35, of Riverton; Elaine W. Blackhurst, 60, and Douglas Robinson Blackhurst, 62, both of Riverton.

The group had left South Valley Regional Airport in West Jordan early Friday morning, according to Cannon.

Investigators from National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration will respond to the crash scene in hopes of determining what caused the crash.