Former Phillies pitcher among four dead in Utah plane crash

National News

Utah (NBC) (07/06/20)— Former Major League Baseball player Tyson Brummett was among four people killed Friday morning in a small plane crash in Utah.

The crash happened just before 8 a.m. near Box Elder Peak in American Fork Canyon, the Utah County Sheriff’s Office said. All four people on the plane died on impact.

Authorities identified the other victims as Alex Blackhurst Ruegner, age 35; and Ruegner’s aunt and uncle, Elaine W. Blackhurst, age 60 and Douglas Robinson Blackhurst, age 62.

They were all residents of Riverton. Brummett, age 35, of Salt Lake City, was the pilot.

Image: Tyson Brummett #59 of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches in his major league debut against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park.
Tyson Brummett

The plane left South Valley Regional Airport in West Jordan, Utah, around 7 a.m., sheriff’s Sgt. Spencer Cannon told NBC News in a phone interview Saturday.

He said he believes the group was out for a ride and was heading back to the airport when the crash occurred. “It’s a sad thing,” he said.

The sheriff’s office said in a press release that a man and his two sons were hiking in the area when they saw the plane begin to turn and then spiral downward.

“The witness said the plane spiraled out of his view and moments later he heard the impact,” the release states.

The man had to climb up to get reception so he could call for help. “The witness then climbed down to the plane and verified that the occupants died on impact,” the sheriff’s office said.

The plane crashed about 15 miles from the airport, according to Cannon. He said the weather on Friday morning was warm with some clouds, “but for the most part clear skies.”

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Brummett was drafted by the Phillies in 2007 and pitched one game for them in 2012. He was in the Phillies’ system from 2007-12, pitching 110 total innings at Triple A Lehigh Valley, NBC Sports reported.

The Philadelphia team released a statement on Saturday about his death.

“The Phillies organization sends heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of former pitcher Tyson Brummett, along with three members of the Ruegner and Blackhurst families, who tragically passed away in a plane crash yesterday morning.”

Prior to his playing professionally, Brummett was on the UCLA Bruins. Another former Bruin, Cody Decker, tweeted a tribute to him.

“I just want you guys to know Tyson was an incredible baseball player,” Decker wrote. “An unbelievable teammate. And an even better person. I am proud to have even known him, let alone call him a friend. He was special.”

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