MOAB, UTAH — A small plane crashed and burned shortly after takeoff Friday evening, killing all aboard -- the pilot and nine people who had spent the day working at a skin cancer clinic in a remote community.
The twin-engine Beech King Air A-100 crashed just after takeoff Friday evening from Canyonlands Field airport, 18 miles northwest of Moab. It hit the ground in nearby hills, flattened and exploded on impact, authorities said.
Emergency responders rushed to the site to search for possible survivors and fight a brush fire apparently sparked by the crash.
On board were employees of Southwest Skin & Cancer/Red Canyon Aesthetics & Medical Spa, a dermatology company based in Cedar City, 200 miles to the west, that sent the team to remote areas to provide treatment for skin cancer and other ailments where it might otherwise be unavailable.
They had flown into Moab earlier Friday. The tourist town was among nine regular stops the team made throughout Utah, northern Arizona and Nevada.
Crews on Saturday sifted through the wreckage on a small rise about two miles from the runway. Bodies were placed in body bags and carted away.
Grand County Sheriff James Nyland identified those killed as pilot David White; the company's director, Dr. Lansing Ellsworth, 50; his son Dallin Ellsworth, 23; David Goddard, 60; his daughter Cecilee Goddard, 31; Mandy Johnson; Marcie Tillery, 29; Valerie Imlay, 52; Keith Shumway, 29; and Camie Vigil, 25.
"It is with disbelief that we struggle to comprehend the events of yesterday," the Ellsworth family said in a statement issued Saturday afternoon. Those from the company "provided much needed dermatology care to patients who might otherwise go without."
Said Linda Snow, the company's office manager in Cedar City: "We are just deeply saddened. These are individuals that were highly skilled and very professional in what they do, and they will be missed."
The airplane is owned by Leavitt Group Wings, part of the Cedar City-based Leavitt Group, an insurance brokerage. The dermatology group had a time-share agreement for use of the plane, said Chief Executive Dane Leavitt.
The pilot was a Leavitt Group Wings employee, Leavitt said.
"He was very well qualified. He'd flown that plane for hundreds of hours. He'd flown this route many times," Leavitt said.
The airplane was built in 1975 and was well-maintained, Leavitt said. His company has owned it for six years.
Moab is about 245 miles southeast of Salt Lake City.