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Victim ID’d in Provo airplane crash; airport closed at least until Thursday

By Genelle Pugmire - | Jan 3, 2023

Courtesy photo via Facebook

Nathan Ricks.

The Provo Municipal Airport remained closed Tuesday following a deadly crash that killed one and injured three others.

At 11:35 a.m. Monday the Provo-based Embraer Phenom 300 crashed immediately after takeoff. The plane was an approximately 10-seat, business-size jet.

“The 4 souls on board the aircraft at the time of the accident were: owner, operator and pilot of the aircraft at the time of the accident, 62-year-old Nathan Ricks of Alpine, Utah in addition to three passengers; 56-year-old Joyce Ricks of Alpine, Utah; 51-year-old Brent Beardall of Sammamish, Washington; and 36-year-old Dane Margetts of Holliday, Utah,” according to Brian Torgersen, airport manager.

Nathan Ricks, the pilot of the aircraft, was killed instantly in the crash. Beardall, seated in the cockpit next to him, was taken to a local hospital with critical injuries but is expected to recover. Joyce Ricks and Margetts walked away from the accident with minor injuries.

According to his LinkedIn account, “Nathan Ricks has been a leader in the network marketing world for three decades. His explosive career began in 1989 when he created an independent distributor force of 100,000 people in just 24 short months at Nu Skin. He has since become a world-renown network marketer, public speaker, and businessman, as well as one of the largest commercial real estate developers in the State of Utah.”

Harrison Epstein, Daily Herald

Debris can be seen on the runway of the Provo Airport on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023, after a Monday plane crash.

“We are sincerely grateful for the outpouring of love from our friends, neighbors and community following Nathan’s passing,” the Ricks family said in a statement to KUTV 2News. “We lost a beloved husband, father, mentor, friend, and leader. He loved life to the fullest and especially the wonderful people around the world that touched his life and he theirs through his business pursuits.”

In the hours after Ricks’ death, his Facebook profile has attracted numerous tributes and messages of sympathy from those who knew him.

“Yesterday we were all shocked to find out about the tragic loss of Nathan Ricks. … Within the network marketing industry Nathan was and will remain a legend,” according to one post signed by employees with One Team Global, a worldwide sales group he founded.

“Through that work we got to know him as a business partner, a teacher, a leader, a mentor, but not the least as a very good friend,” the post continued.

Torgersen said the airport would remain closed to all air traffic until the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration could complete their investigations. The FAA completed most of its investigation Monday night, but the NTSB was unable to start its investigation until Tuesday.

“The accident occurred on Provo’s main runway RW 13-31, causing only minor scrapes to the runway surface. Most of the damage to the airfield occurred east of RW 13-31 within the runway safety area,” Torgersen said. “As per FAA regulations, the runway safety area, including all signs and lighting will need to be repaired prior to opening the airport to flight operations. It is anticipated that the clearance to open the airport will come no sooner than Thursday morning. The Provo Airport is working with its airline partners, Allegiant Air and Breeze Airways, to resume operations as quickly as possible.”

“We recognize the significant impact this creates for our airline customers, as well as the general aviation and corporate aviation community,” he added.

The public side of the airport terminal is open, but the gates and Transportation Safety Administration are closed.

“Our priority is to resume normal operations as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, the investigation process may take several days to complete,” Torgersen said. “We know it lifted off the ground and shortly thereafter did a nosedive and crashed immediately after liftoff.”

According to Torgersen there is a great deal of debris from the crash and the airport cannot reopen until the investigation is complete and debris is cleaned from the runway and area surrounding the crash.

Commercial flights were halted for both Breeze and Allegiant, which base their Utah operations at the Provo Airport.

“As a result of the closure at Provo Airport, we unfortunately had to cancel 9 flights scheduled to depart or arrive at PVU yesterday (Monday), and another 12 today (Tuesday). We are reaching out directly to passengers whose flights have been affected and offering the opportunity to receive a refund or accommodate with no fee to the next available flight. We are closely monitoring this situation and will make additional adjustments to the schedule as necessary,” according to a statement by Allegiant spokesperson Andrew Porello.

Breeze Airways cancelled an incoming flight from San Francisco on Monday evening plus flights in and out to San Francisco and Phoenix on Tuesday, totaling nine flights so far, according to Ryne Williams, Breeze spokesman.

Breeze flies to and from San Francisco daily from Provo and is offering to accommodate passengers to the next available flight. Refunds are also available by contacting the airline.

The NTSB, FAA and representatives from the aircraft manufacturer are currently on-site evaluating the accident. The investigation is expected to extend into Wednesday, followed by cleanup of the crash site by airport personnel and a specialized aircraft recovery team that will ensure the wreckage is appropriately documented and preserved for further investigation.


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