Utah pilot died in crash 15 years after brother's air death

AP News
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Posted: Jul 27, 2017 2:13 PM
Utah pilot died in crash 15 years after brother's air death

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah pilot killed with three others when a small plane crashed on a highway also lost a brother to an aviation accident 15 years ago, the family's Mormon bishop said.

The Wednesday deaths of pilot Layne Clarke, 48, his wife and two of their friends are like a tragic rerun of brother Corry Clarke's 2002 death in a gyroplane, bishop Steve Cottle told reporters.

"There are a lot of things right now that aren't making sense," said Cottle, a leader in the family's Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints congregation, told the Deseret News.

Layne Clarke was traveling to Island Park, Idaho for a vacation with his wife Diana and two friends, Perry and Sarah Huffaker. Each couple leaves behind four children.

The Beech A36 Bonanza Clark he was piloting crashed on a highway, narrowly missing cars when it barreled across the lanes through a gap in traffic.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating why the plane went down shortly after takeoff in Ogden, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) north of Salt Lake City. The crash closed most of Interstate 15 for more than eight hours after the afternoon crash, the Utah Highway Patrol said.

The 2002 crash that killed Corry Clarke happened after takeoff for a flight to drop off candy for a children's party at their local Mormon church. He was a passenger in the helicopter-airplane hybrid craft when it fell 400 feet (122 meters), crashed and was engulfed in flames.

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The two brothers were then partners in a now-defunct gyroplane-building business building.

At the time of his death, Layne Clarke owned an automotive paint supply business and received his pilot's license about five years ago. Perry Huffaker worked for the city of Ogden.

"There's a lot of teary eyes today and broken hearts that this happened to he and his wife," said Mark Johnson, the city's chief administrative officer told KUTV.