Camera captures Utah plane crash

Security video captured a small plane taking off from a southern Utah airport just before it crashed about 300 yards from the runway, killing all four men aboard, a federal investigator said Sunday.

Zoe Keliher of the National Transportation Safety Board said the video shows the single-engine Cessna 172 flying at a low level almost the length of the runway before making a rapid ascent early Saturday morning at St. George Municipal Airport.

“Shortly after that, you see a descent of a few flickers of light but not the plane,” she told The Associated Press, adding it’s too early to say whether the airport’s camera video will offer clues into the cause of the crash.

Marc Mortensen, assistant to the St. George city manager, said officials believe the four men aboard the plane were killed upon impact. The wreckage wasn’t discovered until more than four hours later because the airport is not staffed at night, he added.

The victims were identified Sunday as Colby Hafen, 28, and Christopher Chapman, 20, both of Santa Clara, Utah; Tanner Holt, 23, of Washington City, Utah; and Alexander Metzger, 22, of St. George, Utah.

Keliher and Mortensen said they were unsure where the plane was headed at the time. Keliher said only one of the four men had a pilot’s license, but neither she nor Mortensen would identify the plane’s pilot.