CLINTON — A preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board on the airplane crash that claimed the lives of two brothers from Clinton last month indicated that weather conditions were a factor in the crash.
Daulton Whatcott, 19, and Jaxon Whatcott, 16, were killed July 20 when their single-engine Cessna 172 went down in a rocky area along the Arizona Strip, about 150 feet off I-15 just south of the Virgin River Gorge. The NTSB report, released last week, states that the plane was "destroyed by a collision with terrain and a postcrash fire" and that "visual meteorological conditions prevailed," causing the fatal crash.
Temperatures exceeded 100 degrees the day of the incident and the wind would hold steady with occasional gusts. A motorist traveling south on I-15 said they saw the plane pass over the canyon and follow the path of the highway.
"The airplane made a left turn following the highway, and suddenly rolled inverted and impacted the canyon wall," the report states. "The motorist said the conditions in the canyon were very windy."
The report states that the airplane was investigated twice at the crash site before being moved to a storage facility for further examination. No mechanical issues had been reported to family members who were monitoring the flight and had talked to Daulton Whatcott before the brothers left Beaver.
The brothers were headed to Las Vegas to attend a basketball tournament.