Two men were killed in a plane crash in Utah County near Kyhv Peak on Tuesday, November 14th, 2023. A third man survived the crash, however, and was believed to be in fair condition Tuesday afternoon.
The deceased men were identified Wednesday as Evan Backers, 26, of South Jordan, and Collin Niemela, 23, of Springville. Originally, the sheriff’s office said Backers was from Hideout, Wasatch County.
“Collin was a bright light in our lives, a source of laughter, and a true friend, Whether Collin was cheering us up with his infectious laughter or lending a helping hand, his impact on our lives is immeasurable. We invite you to join us in honoring his memory by contributing to this fund.”
“Evan was known for his passion and commitment to his family. He was a devoted husband and father, leaving behind his loving wife, Alexis, their 16-month-old son, Emmett, and another baby expected in April 2024. His family was the center of his world, and he loved them more than anything else, The loss of Evan has left a void that can never be filled.”
The third occupant, a 22-year-old Springville man, was walking around the crash site when crews got to the scene. A medical helicopter hoisted the survivor out and flew him to Utah Valley Hospital. His condition was not listed, but Cannon described him as “very fortunate.”
Crews from the Provo Fire Department were the first to spot the wreckage. Cannon said they saw the lone survivor walking outside of the plane and waving to search crews in the air. A Life Flight helicopter hoisted the 22-year-old off the mountain and to a local hospital.
Cannon said the crash site was in steep terrain that required a “pretty rugged hike” to reach the area.
“We had Life Flight in the area,” he said. “They were able to get their hoist there and get the survivor hoisted out.”
What happened exactly remained unclear and Cannon said investigators only spoke to the survivor briefly before he was sedated for treatment at Utah Valley Hospital.
Cannon said that the survivor was able to walk away from the crash was remarkable.
“The fact that somebody might be able to survive when two others did not tells you that timing was just right for that person,” Cannon said. “Anytime somebody survives a landing essentially that’s not on a runway, they’re very, very fortunate.”
Crews worked for hours to recover the two bodies from the wreckage of the aircraft, which was located several miles up the canyon. According to Cannon, it took first responders 45 minutes to hike to the crash site.
The aircraft, a Cessna 172G Skyhawk (registry N3971L), is reportedly owned by Christian R. Kenworthy according to the FAA Registry. According to multiple sources, the aircraft departed from Spanish Fork Airport, Utah, on the morning of the crash. Authorities were reportedly first notified of the downed aircraft at approximately 11:15AM. The purpose for the flight remains unknown at this time. The cause of the crash is under investigation.
The highly skilled attorneys at the BrewerWood law firm have more than 50 years of combined experience representing victims of helicopter and airplane accidents in the USA and globally. Oftentimes, the cause of an aircraft crash is not clear even after government investigators complete their investigation. And, in many instances, investigators are quick to blame a crash on pilot error or weather conditions when, in fact, some other cause resulted in the crash. Time and time again, the attorneys at BrewerWood have uncovered that the true cause of an aviation crash was a faulty part, a faulty system, or faulty design of the aircraft which can mean that a product manufacturer can be held responsible for the crash. BrewerWood fully investigates each and every aviation crash with a team of the top aerospace and aviation experts independent of the findings by government investigators. It is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible after an accident before critical evidence is lost or memories fade. If you or a family member has been a victim of an aircraft accident, please contact the attorneys at BrewerWood for a free consultation.
Toll Free: (866) 254-9813
Phone: (602) 254-9813
Fax: (602) 254-5511