American Scene: 3 bank employees die in private plane crash

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SALT LAKE CITY — A plane carrying three Utah men crashed shortly after takeoff in Texas on Saturday, killing all three aboard, authorities said.

The Piper PA-46 took off from an airport near Paris, Texas, about 8 a.m.

The Texas Department of Public Safety identified the men as Michael Endo, 50, Michael Dale Bradley, 44, and pilot Rob Thompson, 49, according to a report in the Deseret News.

All three men worked for Utah-based Celtic Bank, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

“This is a challenging and difficult time for the entire Celtic Bank family,” bank CEO Reese Howell Jr. said in a statement.

There was no immediate word on the cause of the crash. The Public Safety Department said it was reportedly foggy and the plane attempted to turn back toward the airport before descending rapidly and crashing.

The plane burst into flames upon impact, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Roland Herwig told The Tribune.

CALIFORNIA

Old Man Winter visits Southern California

SAN DIEGO — Oddly enough, even polar bears at the San Diego Zoo are getting a helping hand with the unseasonable freezing temperatures sweeping across California.

Zookeepers turned up the heat for some animals and offered shelter to polar bears during a cold snap through the weekend that promised to bring the coldest overnight temperatures.

While polar bears tolerate frigid climes, the zoo animals lack the fat layers that naturally occur in the wild to fully protect them from the cold, so zookeepers offer them shelter and “warming apparatuses” in case they seek it, zoo spokeswoman Jenny Mehlow said.

“The animals do take this in stride because they’re wearing a nice, warm fur coat,” she said.

Frost and freeze warnings were in effect early Sunday for parts of San Diego County with lows in some areas dipping to 25 and even lower in the mountains, according to the National Weather Service. On Saturday, the town of Ramona in eastern San Diego County recorded a low of 23 degrees, breaking the record of 24 degrees set in 2007.

MASSACHUSETTS

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