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Two men dead after plane crash near Utah ski resort identified as aspiring pilot, flight instructor

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 6/1/2021 Jessica Schladebeck
a man standing next to a tree: Weber Fire District posted images from the plane crash that took place on Saturday, May 29, 2021 in Eden Utah. © Provided by New York Daily News Weber Fire District posted images from the plane crash that took place on Saturday, May 29, 2021 in Eden Utah.

An aspiring pilot up in the air for the first time and a young flight instructor have been identified as the men who died after a plane crashed near a ski resort in Utah over the weekend.

Devin Criddle, a 26-year-old student at the University of Utah, died at the scene of the crash on Saturday, according to authorities.

His sister, Carlee, said he was supposed to meet up with his family later in the day to celebrate a birthday. She told ABC4 they were not initially worried when Criddle failed to answer their texts and only assumed he was still enjoying his first flying lesson.

After a lunch outing and a movie, Carlee said the family was approached by four Draper Police officers, who delivered the tragic news.


Video: Aircraft crashes near Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas (ABC News)

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“Devin was a wonderful son, brother, and friend. He dreamed of becoming a pilot and this flight was his first step on that path,” according to a statement from his family.

“We will dearly miss his energetic personality and compassionate disposition, but we have faith in the eternal nature of our family and we look forward to our reunion with Devin. We are grateful to all those who are supporting and comforting our family through this difficult time.”

Braeden Raleigh, a 21-year-old pilot, was serving as flight instructor for the 45-minute course when the single-engine plane crashed near the Powder Mountain ski area, located 55 miles northeast of Salt Lake City. The aircraft plummeted downward shortly after takeoff at Ogden-Hinkley Airport in Webber County.

Witnesses reported seeing a low-flying aircraft and then an explosion a short time later, which sparked a small fire in the area. Weber Deputy Fire Chief David Reed said first responders were quickly able to get the blaze under control because the ground was wet and snowy.

It wasn’t immediately clear who had control of the plane when it crashed or what caused it to go down. The National Transportation Safety Board said it is investigating the crash of the Cessna 172S.

With News Wire Services

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