"A man and two of his sons were hiking when they saw the plane begin to turn, then spiral downward," authorities said

By Maria Pasquini
July 04, 2020 02:15 PM
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Tyson Brummett in his major league debut
G Fiume/Getty Images

Tyson Brummett, a former pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies, died on Friday morning in a plane crash.

Utah Sheriff’s Office deputies received reports about a “small plane crash” in American Fork Canyon, located south of Salt Lake City, shortly before 8:00 a.m. on Friday, authorities said in a press release.

“A man and two of his sons were hiking when they saw the plane begin to turn, then spiral downward. The witness said the plane spiraled out of his view and moments later he heard the impact,” authorities said, adding that after calling 911, “the witness then climbed down to the plane and verified that the occupants died on impact.”

In addition to the Sheriff’s Office, USCO Search and Rescue responded to the call, as well as the Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter and Lone Peak Fire and Ambulance.

“They verified that there were four occupants on board the plane and all four appeared to have died on impact,” the authorities said in the press release. The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration will be investigating in order to determine the cause of the crash, which is currently unknown.

Inside the plane were Brummett, 35, who was the pilot, as well as Alex Blackhurst Ruegner, 35, and his aunt and uncle, who were 60 and 62 respectively.

Brummett’s death has been mourned by friends and members of his baseball family.

“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,” the team wrote in a statement posted on Twitter Saturday.

“I just want you guys to know. Tyson was an incredible baseball player. 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,” added Cody Decker, a former MLB player who played alongside Brummett in college.

Bachelor in Paradise alum Michelle Money, who is a friend of the late athlete's wife, also paid her respects. “So deeply saddened by the death of my friends husband Tyson,” she wrote on Instagram, alongside a photograph of the pair together. “Please send all the prayers to the families involved.”

Tyson Brummett and wife
Michelle Money/Instagram

Brummett, who played baseball in college for UCLA, was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2007 during the seventh round.

Throughout his career with the organization, which lasted until 2012, Brummett pitched 110 innings with the team’s Triple-A affiliate, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, according to NBC Sports.

In 2012, the athlete made his first and only trip to the mound for the Phillies, striking out two batters, USA Today reported. He remained in the minor league system until 2014, before being released by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Brummett is the third former Phillies pitcher who has died after piloting a plane.

Baseball Hall of Famer Roy Halladay fatally crashed a two-seater plane into the Gulf of Mexico in 2017. Cory Lidle, whose career ended while playing for the New York Yankees, died in 2006 after a small aircraft he owned crashed into a high-rise building on the east side of Manhattan.