Investigators examine Utah plane crash wreckage

Monday, August 25, 2008

SALT LAKE CITY -- Investigators had little more than ash and blackened shards of metal to sift through Sunday as they tried to figure out what caused a twin-engine plane to crash shortly after taking off, killing all 10 people on board.

"The aircraft was pretty much consumed by fire," said Keith Holloway, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board. "When there aren't identifiable pieces, sometimes we don't know right away what was working and what wasn't working."

An NTSB crew planned to move what was left of the wreckage to a place where it could be laid out and closely examined. A preliminary crash report could be finished late this week or early next, Holloway said Sunday, two days after nine members of a dermatology clinic and the pilot who was flying them died in eastern Utah.

Moab was one of nine regular stops for the team from Southwest Skin and Cancer/Red Canyon Aesthetics & Medical Spa in Cedar City, a rapidly growing city of 28,000 in southwestern Utah. The company had satellite offices in Utah, northern Arizona and Nevada, providing skin treatment in small, remote communities.

"Our hearts are broken," said Dane Leavitt, chief executive officer of the company that owned the plane.

Two of the victims were adult children traveling with their fathers. Another was a 20-year-old woman who got engaged to be married the night before. By Sunday morning, a blog set up for the families had dozens of comments offering condolences.

"Everybody's having a hard time. It's hard to put into words how devastating this is," Rand Colbert, a doctor at the clinic, told the Salt Lake Tribune.

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