Updated Feb 17, 2014 - 5:49 pm
All 3 killed in small plane crash in Colo. were Ariz. pilots
DENVER -- Authorities say all three people killed in a single-engine plane crash near a Colorado ski town's airport were pilots from Arizona.
The San Miguel County Sheriff's Office released the identities of the three victims late Monday morning as recovery efforts got underway.
Killed were 57-year-old Sherry Anderson and 64-year-old Sherman Anderson, of Phoenix, and 48-year-old Eric Durban, of Mesa, Ariz. The sheriff's office says the Andersons were both commercial pilots, while Durban is described as an accomplished former military pilot.
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, with one mile visibility and calm winds. The plane was found about a mile west of the airport six hours later after an intense search. The aircraft has crashed into a cliff band.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
Sheriff's deputies have reached the wreckage of a single-engine plane that crashed near a Colorado ski town's airport, killing all three people aboard.
Deputies set out for the wreckage at about 7 a.m. Monday, sheriff's spokeswoman Jennifer Dinsmore said.
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 following 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 1 mile and light winds during takeoff, Masters said.
The last communication with the pilot was from the Telluride runway during takeoff, he said.
The county coroner's office was expected to release the identities of those killed once their families are notified.
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the accident, Gregor said.