There's tragedy in southern Utah, as a community mourns the loss of 10 people killed in a plane crash. The plane went down near Moab last week and was engulfed in flames when emergency crews arrived. No one on board survived. All the victims were from Cedar City.
It is known that almost all of the plane's passengers worked for the Southwest Skin and Cancer/Red Canyon Aesthetics & Medical Spa, a medical group that provides cancer screenings and also dermatological services for the people who are in rural Southern Utah.
This group was led by Lansing Ellsworth, MD. They had wrapped up a day-long clinic there and were heading home to Cedar City, but moments after takeoff, the plane crashed.
Dean Duke MD, Ellsworth's partner, said, "I was just frozen, in shock and disbelief. These things happen quickly."
JoAnn Peak, Ellsworth's patient, said, "Dr. Ellsworth, for me, was one of a kind, and you know when you go to his office, he would always remember your name without even looking at his chart. It's just a very difficult loss. It's gonna be hard to carry on."
Dane Leavitt, CEO of the Leavitt Group, knew Ellsworth, and he said, "It's the same reaction I feel now, that of just shock, deep sadness. Trying to be of service to those affected, the love for those that we've lost, this is a loss that affects really all of Southern Utah."
The plane was a twin-engine Beech King Air A-100. It was owned by the Leavitt Group out of Cedar City. David White was the pilot. It's unclear what problems he was having before the crash, or why the plane went down. Leavitt said, "He has flown that particular route often, as they went to Moab regularly. He flew that route for them."
Grand County Sheriff James Nyland identified those killed as White; the company's director, Ellsworth, 50, and his son Dallin Ellsworth, 23; David B. Goddard, PA-C, and his daughter Cecilee Goddard, 31; Mandy Johnson; Marcie Tillery, 29; Valerie Imlay, 52; Keith Shumway, 26; and Camie Vigil, 31.
"It is with disbelief that we struggle to comprehend the events," the Ellsworth family said in an issued statement. Those from the company "provided much needed dermatology care to patients who might otherwise go without."
Linda Snow, the company's office manager in Cedar City, said, "We are just deeply saddened. These are individuals that were highly skilled and very professional in what they do, and they will be missed."
Gov. Jon Huntsman issued this statement: "This is a tragedy for the communities of Moab, Cedar City and Hurricane, and for our whole state. Mary Kaye and I offer our most sincere condolences as our prayers go out to these communities and the friends and families of the 10 victims."
A blog has been setup for the families involved the crash. If you would like to express your condolences, you may do so by clicking here.
By Gene Kennedy, KSL.com, August 23, 2008