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Friday, Oct. 24, 2014

3 in West Jordan plane crash still hospitalized, but stable

By Morgan Jacobsen, Deseret News

Published: Mon, Aug. 11 12:30 p.m. MDT

 West Jordan emergency crews respond Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014, to a plane crash at the Soccer Complex, 4000 West 7965 South. A plane carrying a family of 3 from Boise, Idaho crashed on takeoff from the South Valley Regional Airport, two people were transported by air ambulance, the third by ground ambulance.

West Jordan emergency crews respond Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014, to a plane crash at the Soccer Complex, 4000 West 7965 South. A plane carrying a family of 3 from Boise, Idaho crashed on takeoff from the South Valley Regional Airport, two people were transported by air ambulance, the third by ground ambulance.

(Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

WEST JORDAN — Three people who survived a small plane crash on a West Jordan soccer field Sunday remained hospitalized Monday.

Steven Sedlacek, 56, was in critical but stable condition at Intermountain Medical Center along with his daughter, Anna Looper, 28, who was upgraded to serious condition, according to West Jordan Police Sgt. Dan Roberts.

Sedlacek's wife, Kathleen Sedlacek, 57, was in critical but stable condition at University Hospital.

All three had broken backs and underwent spinal fusion surgeries and treatment for other injuries, according to Anna Looper's father-in-law, Robert Looper.

"Today's been a long day," Robert Looper said Monday.

The Boise family took off from South Valley Regional Airport about 9 a.m. Sunday. The Piper fixed-wing, single-engine plane was unable to gain altitude and crashed about one mile into the flight at a soccer complex near 8000 South and 4000 West, according to Roberts.

Volunteers worked to pull the three out of the plane, which caught on fire and burned until firefighters doused the flames.

Robert Kelley, a staff sergeant with the Utah National Guard, drove his truck onto the field when the plane crashed and began pulling the passengers to safety.

"The whole time, I just was thinking, 'Got to get them away from the plane.' I fly helicopters, so I know as soon as the plane's on fire, there's a big likelihood that it can explode," Kelley said.

David Lawrence also witnessed the crash and helped pull the family from the wreckage.

"Another three or four minutes, they would have been burned," Lawrence said. "They were very fortunate that we were able to get them out before that airplane was totally engulfed."

Roberts said soccer games were scheduled at the complex Sunday, but none were taking place at the time of the crash.

"It's fortuitous, I think, that we have soccer fields and farms in the area that help give the pilots somewhere else to go other than into a residential area," Roberts said.

The National Transportation Safety Board was investigating the crash, and a cause had not been determined Monday.

Email: mjacobsen@deseretnews.com

Twitter: MorganEJacobsen

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