All three people killed in a single-engine plane crash near a Colorado ski town’s airport were pilots from Arizona, authorities said.
Killed were Sherry Anderson, 57, and Sherman Anderson, 64, of Ahwatukee, and Eric Durban, 48, of Mesa, the San Miguel County sheriff’s office said in a statement Monday.
The Andersons were both commercial pilots, while Durban is described as an accomplished former military pilot, according to the sheriff’s office.
The Andersons are survived by a daughter. Durban is survived by his wife and two children.
Sheriff’s deputies began recovery operations at 7 a.m. Monday.
The private Beechcraft Bonanza took off from Telluride Regional Airport at 11:20 a.m. Sunday on its way to Cortez, a city in southwest Colorado about 75 miles away, San Miguel County Sheriff Bill Masters said in a statement. The wreckage was found in a cliff band about a mile west of the airport six hours later after an intense search by deputies and the Civil Air Patrol.
A photo of the wreckage tweeted by Masters on Monday shows the charred fuselage of the plane with the wings largely intact. Deputies had previously confirmed there were no survivors.
“This is certainly not the outcome we were hoping for. It’s just a terrible, terrible tragedy,” Masters said.
The cause of the crash is not yet known, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said. There was light snow, with visibility of one mile and light winds during takeoff, Masters said.
The last communication with the pilot was from the Telluride runway during takeoff, he said.
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the accident, Gregor said.
Telluride is in southwest Colorado, about 300 miles from Denver.