UPDATED: Pilot dies after takeoff at St. George Regional Airport

ST. GEORGE — A man died Saturday morning after crashing an aircraft near a runway at St. George Regional Airport.


Update 4 p.m. Officials have identified the pilot as 69-year-old Sterling Palmer, of St. George.


Emergency personnel place a blue tarp on the tail of an aircraft involved in a crash that killed the pilot at the St. George Regional Airport, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018 | Photo by Markee Heckenliable, St. George News

The man, who was the only occupant in the plane, was taking off at runway No. 1 in an ultra-light experimental aircraft at approximately 9 a.m., airport spokesman Marc Mortensen said.

“We’re not exactly sure what happened,” Mortensen said, “but he didn’t get very far in the air before it fell to the ground and crashed.”

Mortensen said it appears the pilot died on impact.

St. George Fire Department and airport operations at the scene of a plane crash that killed a pilot at the St. George Regional Airport, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018 | Photo by Markee Heckenliable, St. George News

St. George Police Department, St. George Fire Department and airport operations responded to the scene of the crash.

Mortensen said officials informed the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration of the crash. FAA officials will be conducting the investigation into the crash alongside St. George Police detectives.

Although the airport remained operational, Mortensen said the runway was shut down to general aviation aircraft. He said officials expected to have it cleared by noon in time for a SkyWest commercial flight from Phoenix arriving at 12:15 p.m.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

Email: mheckenliable@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews | @markeekaenews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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1 Comment

  • Carpe Diem August 12, 2018 at 1:07 pm

    Oh, that’s bad! I saw this craft during a tour of the Airport museum this spring.

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