By Herald Journal staff
A student and flight instructor have died after a Utah State University aviation plane crashed in Cache County on Friday morning, authorities say.
Around 9 a.m., according to a news release from the Cache County Sheriff’s Office, a 911 call notified dispatch of a plane crash near Mendon at 2685 S. State Road 23. Emergency medical service personnel and law enforcement responded after being guided to the scene by witnesses, the release states.
“It was learned by the witnesses that there were no survivors of the crash,” Lt. Mikelshan Bartschi wrote.
The sole occupants of the plane were both part of USU’s aviation program. They were identified by USU officials as aviation student Michael Carpenter and flight instructor Blake Shumway.
According to the statement from USU, Shumway was a certified flight instructor who had worked for the university’s aviation program for less than a year. Carpenter, an aviation technology and professional pilot major, was slated to graduate this fall.
“We are devastated by this morning’s tragic crash and the loss of members in our USU community,” USU President Noelle Cockett said in the statement. “Every student and employee is part of our Aggie family, and we know many individuals will feel this loss deeply.”
The fatal crash comes less than a year after another tragedy involving members of the USU aviation program, who were flying in a private airplane, and six years after a fatal crash involving a student in another USU airplane.
In the more recent crash of August 2021, a USU flight instructor, her husband, and a USU aviation student died when the private plane they were in went down on Sessions Mountain east of Bountiful.
In July of 2016, a USU aviation student flying solo in a university aircraft died in a crash near Hyrum.
USU officials indicated counseling services would be offered to students and employees of the aviation program “to help them process this loss,” while other university associated flights had been canceled for the day.
While the sheriff’s office is the initial investigating agency, Bartschi wrote the National Transportation Safety Board will lead the investigation of the crash.
“The Sheriff’s Office offers its heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of the occupants,” Bartschi wrote.