Man dies after flying plane into own house in Utah

Wife and a child escape incident hours after deceased was arrested over domestic violence

The scene after a small plane crashed into a house in Payson, Utah. Photograph: John Wilson/KSL-TV/Deseret News via AP

The scene after a small plane crashed into a house in Payson, Utah. Photograph: John Wilson/KSL-TV/Deseret News via AP

 

A man has flown a small plane into his own house in Utah, hours after being arrested for assaulting his wife in a nearby canyon where the couple went to talk over their problems, police said.

The pilot, Duane Youd, died. His wife and a child who were in the home got out and survived despite the front part the two-storey house being engulfed in flames, Sgt Noemi Sandoval said.

The crash occurred in Payson, a Utah city of about 20,000 residents 95km (60 miles) south of Salt Lake City.

Investigators believe the plane belonged to Mr Youd’s employer and that he intentionally flew into his own house, Sgt Sandoval said. He was an experienced pilot, she added.

It is unknown if the child in the house was related to Mr Youd, Sgt Sandoval said.

Mr Youd was arrested on Sunday after witnesses called police to report that he was assaulting his wife, Utah County Sheriff’s Sgt Spencer Cannon said.

The couple had been drinking and went to American Fork Canyon to talk about problems they were having.

Mr Youd was booked into jail on suspicion of domestic violence and then bailed, Sgt Cannon said.

Mr Youd requested an officer escort to go to his home so he could get his truck and some belongings. That occurred without incident, Sgt Sandoval said.

Within hours, Mr Youd was taking off in the plane from Spanish Fork-Springville Airport, about 25km (15 miles) north of his house. He flew directly to his neighbourhood and smashed into his house, Sgt Sandoval said.

Photographs of the wreckage showed the white plane charred and in pieces in the front yard near an overturned and crushed car. Most of the upscale house was still intact, but heavily burned on the front.

Police had gone one previous time to the house on a domestic violence incident, Sgt Sandoval said.

Online court records show that Mr Youd agreed on July 23rd to attend marriage and family counselling sessions for six months as part of a plea agreement following an April 8th domestic violence incident in which he was charged with disorderly conduct. – AP