Roy City police chief raises concerns following latest plane crash

Local News

ROY CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Roy City Police Chief is speaking up for his residents and asking for a study on Ogden-Hinckley Airport after recent plane crashes. 

Citizens of Roy City are afraid and concerned with all the plane crashes over the years like the one Wednesday afternoon.

Chief Carl Merino of the Roy City Police Department says, “We’ve had five in the two-and-a-half years and the citizens are justly concerned about their safety.”

One of the chief’s concerns deals with student safety.

“The one path goes over four schools in our city. A high school, a junior high, and two elementaries and the people are afraid,” he says. “I’m personally concerned. I’ve assured citizens myself and now I kind of regret making them feel comfortable with the number of plane crashes we’ve had.”

Thursday evening, Ogden City Director of Community & Economic Development Thomas Tony Christopulos tells ABC4’s Jason Nguyen, in a statement:

I have attached the total number of crashes at the airport for the last 35 years. It can be concerning when public safety officials don’t fully consider all the data at involved when declaring trends that involve public safety. Our hope is that our public safety people are level headed and fully represent facts to the public. While visceral reactions are understandable when loss of life is involved we believe accurate facts should be given to the public But assuming that safety is at question because of accidents over the past 4 years is no more appropriate than assuming that there were no safety issues from 2009-2007 when there were no accidents. Safety is always the primary concern in airport operations.

No compromises have been made in licensing a pilot or change in FAA flight requirements. The airport has been at this location nearly 70 years old and the responsibility for public safety has been understood by communities surrounding the airport. It is too easy to find scape goats and blame an airport without consideration of the responsibility of surrounding communities to provide public safety planning knowing full well what hazards and conditions have always been present. We think that the surrounding communities have done their jobs in responsibly in protecting the citizens surrounding the airport. The airport has existed long before surrounding communities granted permission to build neighborhoods in proximity to the airport . But as history has shown at all airports have crashes. Considerable planning is taken to assure public safety by local or federal agencies. Our research shows that Ogden is well within the norm of general aviation airports around the county. You can draw your own conclusions from the data attached.

That data provided by the Ogden Hinckley Airport Manager Bryant W. Garrett shows:

From 1984 to 2019, Forty-nine (49) NTSB investigated crashes in the past Thirty-five (35) years = 1.4 annually. This does not count yesterday’s crash.

In the past 20 years, OGD has had 21NTSB investigated crashes = 1.05 annually.

OGD had zero crashes between 2009 and 2017 (8 years).

Fatal crashes are seven (7) of Forty-nine (49). Fatal crashes in 1985, 1988, 1997, 1999, 2002, 2017, and now in 2020.

These are all crashes Chief Merino says, haunts one of his Captains who’s seen nine plane wrecks in 24 years of service in Roy City. 

“He was talking today that there were a lot of things about his career he doesn’t remember but he remembers every victim in the planes, and he was talking about that. That’s showing it is taking a toll on him.”

The Mayor of Roy City is supposed to meet with the Ogden-Hinkley Airport Directors Friday afternoon. We are going to continue to follow this story and bring you the latest as soon as we have it.

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