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Airplane crashes on Highway 89A in Kanab

“This is why we have emergency checklists and emergency protocols,” said Tim Clarkson on the morning of Wednesday, August 30. While on a recreational flight with his family, Clarkson’s rental plane suddenly lost power, necessitating an emergency landing a few miles north of the Kanab Airport - the plane put down in a field across the street from Muley Crazy, down the road from the K-town 89 gas station.

From left to right, photos by Ty Gant:

  • Despite their sudden, unplanned descent, the Clarksons are mostly unscathed and unshaken.

  • The skid marks and gasoline on the road mark the plane’s impact point.

  • The reports are still unsure of what caused the mechanical failure that resulted in the plane crash.

Clarkson and three of his sons were in the plane at the time, and aside from the general shock of a sudden impact, nobody was harmed. Says Clarkson, “The plane cut out, and I did what I was trained to do. We had to get a little bit of extra speed to clear the power lines next to the road, otherwise we probably would have made it to the field and landed all wheels intact.” The steepness of the descent made necessary by avoiding the electrical lines, as well as the trees to the north of the impact site, resulted in the plane landing on the surface of the highway and skidding through fences into the field.

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The plane had made multiple flights with no issues over the course of the morning, contributing to the suddenness and surprise of the mechanical failure - Clarkson and the emergency responders were still in the process of diagnosing exactly what caused the failure.

Kane County Police Department and Utah Highway Patrol responded to the scene along with emergency medical services, though after an initial check the Clarkson family did not require medical care. Clarkson concluded, “It happened so fast - we followed emergency protocol, and that’s why we’re safe in a field right now instead of in those powerlines or right through a building.”

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