CEDAR CITY, Utah (ABC4) – The Utah County Sheriff’s Office is grieving the loss of one of their own.
A deputy, along with three others, died in a plane crash on Saturday evening. According to the Iron County Sheriff’s Office, the plane was headed to Zion National Park when it crashed about five miles outside of Cedar City.
It was supposed to be a weekend trip to take an aerial tour of Zion National Park.
“It’s a tragedy that’s going to stick with us,” said Sgt. Spencer Cannon with Utah County Sheriff’s Office, referring to the plane crash.
On Sunday, the Iron County Sheriff’s Office released aerial photos showing the crash site. Looking at the photos, it’s difficult to see anything resembling a plane left behind. According to the ICSO, Steven Eatchel was the pilot. His wife Lindsay Eatchel, his brother Thomas Eatchel and Danielle Deagostini joined him on the trip.
“When everybody comes in and everybody has their assignments and their responsibilities and all of a sudden one of those people is gone, there’s a little bit of a hole to fill,” Sgt. Cannon stated solemnly. “It’s not just a vacancy of an employee, it’s a vacancy of a friend.” That friend Sgt. Cannon referred to is Deputy Steven Eatchel. Eatchel has been with the UCSO for 12 years.
“He’s just a really even-tempered personality and he’s just the kind of guy that walks around with a smile all the time,” Cannon said describing Eatchel. “He’s just a good guy and he’s going to be missed.”
The loss is also rippling through Utah’s flying community.
“Obviously, every pilot is devastated every time we hear another pilot dies,” Carson Stilson told ABC4.
Stilson is a private pilot based out of St. George. He added, “It’s just really a sad situation and our hearts go out to the families and everything. It’s never a good thing when another plane goes down.”
Stilson didn’t know Eatchel personally, but he explained that Utah pilots tend to make up a tight knit community.
“There’s just this mutual respect,” Stilson said. “We all know what we go through to be safe and it’s just sad when something goes wrong or a mistake is made.”
The cause of the crash is under investigation. Even when the cause is determined, the loss will still be present.
“The tragedy is compounded by the fact that he’s got four kids that he’s left behind,” said Cannon.
“He and his wife Lindsay.”
In the coming days, as funeral preparations are made, Cannon told ABC4 that the sheriff’s office will do what it can for the Eatchel family.
“We’ll help the family in any way they want us to, and we’ll offer the honor guard, I’m sure,” said Cannon.
“You don’t get over it,” said Cannon. “You don’t find closure. I think you find a way to work your way through it and live with it.”
For those who work at UCSO, mental health services will be available to help them through the grieving process.
More information will be provided as it is made available.