UVU Student, Employee Killed in Payson Plane Crash
November 18, 2010
For Immediate Release
For more information: Chris Taylor (801) 472-8588
University Marketing & Communications: Mike Rigert (801) 863-6807
Written by: Brad Plothow (801) 669-3134
A Utah Valley University aviation student and a UVU instructor were killed when their plane went down in southern Utah County Wednesday. Jamie Bennee, a 34-year-old certified flight instructor, and David Whitney, a 25-year-old aviation student, died when their Diamond DA 20 aircraft crashed near Wilson Elementary School in Payson at 1:08 p.m. during a routine training flight.
“We are all deeply mourning the loss of two members of our university community today,” UVU President Matthew S. Holland said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and acquaintances of our friends whose lives were cut short, as well as to their colleagues in the aviation science department. We also appreciate the quick response of Payson City as well as the efforts of Nebo School District and Wilson Elementary during this difficult time.”
The cause of the accident is still under investigation. No other deaths or injuries were reported.
It was the first fatal accident involving a UVU aircraft in the history of UVU’s aviation program, which includes nearly 400,000 flight hours. About 350 students are receiving academic and flight training through UVU locally, with an additional 1,700 receiving academic training through UVU online. The aviation program has eight full-time faculty and another 52 adjunct flight instructors and averages about 30 flights per day.