Washington bank CEO survives plane crash

One of the most highly respected bank executives in the state of Washington has been injured in a deadly plane crash in Utah.

PROVO, Utah — It was a snowy Monday morning in Provo, Utah where a plane barely made it off the runway before crashing.

“We were cleaning up taxi lanes and clearing up some of the chunks of ice on the air field,” said Director of the Provo Airport, Brian Torgersen.

That’s when an Embrear Phenom 300 Jet was taking off during a break in the weather. The plane barely made it off the runway before coming back down.

“It wasn’t very high before the left wing tip dipped and drug on the runway and then precipitated a crash on the runway,” said Torgersen. He was a quarter mile away; he and three airport employees ran to the plane. “Miraculously heard cries for help. There were actually three survivors.”

Businessman and pilot, 62-year-old Nathan Ricks died in the crash. Brent Beardall, 51, the Washington Federal CEO, was sitting next to him in the cockpit and was rushed to the hospital. Ricks’ wife and another passenger walked away with minor injuries.

“The front end of the aircraft is wires and metal scraps, but apparently Brent’s seat was protected enough,” said Torgersen.

The four were friends and Ricks was a banking client. In a statement, the second largest bank in the state says Beardall has broken bones, lacerations and went into surgery the day of the crash. He’s expected to make a full recovery.

“It’s a miracle that Brent survived. He was in a position where really, in my opinion, shouldn’t have survived. But he had a will to live and is a tough guy,” Torgerson said.

At this point, it’s not clear what caused the plane to suddenly crash.

“There’s a lot of speculation on what may have happened,” said Torgersen.

Provo Airport was closed while the FAA, NTSB and manufacturers investigated this crash and reopened Wednesday evening. The initial report should be released within two weeks.

Torgersen said the plane is headed to Phoenix to be further looked at. KING 5 spoke with Beardall’s friends and fellow Bank CEO’s in the Pacific Northwest, they said he is an exceedingly optimistic person and one of the most highly respected bankers in our region. Everyone is hoping for a speedy recovery.

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