2 Found Dead in Plane After Crash in Utah Mountains, Sole Survivor Airlifted to Hospital

A 22-year-old survivor was airlifted from the remote location and taken to a Provo hospital

Getty Squaw Peak in Utah
Getty Squaw Peak in Utah

A man was found walking around a mountainous location in Utah on Tuesday, hours after the small plane he was in crashed, killing two other people, authorities said.

The 22-year-old man was airlifted to a local hospital, according to the Utah County Sheriff’s Office.

The victims were identified by the sheriff’s office as Evan Backers, 26, of South Jordan, Utah, and Collin Niemela, 23, of Santaquin, Utah.

In a video shared as a part of the sheriff's office's Facebook post, a LifeFlight helicopter can be seen hoisting the survivor high over snow-dappled mountain peaks. The man was taken to Intermountain Utah Valley Hospital where his condition is currently unknown.

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Provo Fire & Rescue received a call about the crash at about 11:15 a.m. local time and arrived at the remote scene of the crash via helicopter about an hour later, NBC affiliate KSL-TV reported.

First responders discovered Backers and Niemela dead inside the plane, while the 22-year-old man was found alert and walking around the site.

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"I've seen a lot of wrecks, the pictures, I've been on a lot of scenes of those, and any time somebody survives a landing that's not essentially on a runway, they're very, very fortunate," Sgt. Spencer Cannon with the Utah County Sheriff's Office told Fox affiliate KSTU-TV. "The fact that somebody might be able to survive when two others did not tells you that timing and whatever was just right for that person."

The plane originated from Spanish Fork airport, south of Provo, authorities said. It crashed east of Slate Canyon, near Kyhy Peak Road and Provo Canyon.

Related: ‘Unprepared’ Hiker Wearing ‘Only a Cotton Hoodie’ Rescued from Mountain During 'Severe' Snowstorm

The Utah County Sheriff’s Office said the cause of the crash is currently being investigated.

Cannon told KSTU-TV that it was unknown if the pilot and his passengers were sightseeing or if it was a training flight.

Utah County Sheriff Search and Rescue carried the victims’ bodies off the mountain, the sheriff’s office said. 

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