Plane Crashes Into Superstition Mountains, Causing Fireball; UPDATE -- Six People Dead, Hiking Trails Closed as Rescue Workers Rappel to Wreckage

Categories: News

flatiron supes.jpg
Witnesses reported that a plane went down, erupting in a fireball, near the Flatiron formation on the west end of the Superstition Mountains.

An airplane crashed into the Superstition Mountains about 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday evening, near the Flatiron formation.

Witnesses saw an explosion and fireball, says Channel 5 (KPHO-TV).

We tried to get in touch with Elias Johnson, spokesman for the Pinal County Sheriff's Office -- he's on his way out there, according to Fox 10 News (KSAZ-TV), which also published a viewer's photo of the fire.

UPDATE THURSDAY: Johnson tells us this morning that six people were aboard the twin-engine Rockwell AC69 when it took off last night from Falcon Field in Mesa. It had been in the air for about 15 minutes before crashing into the mountain.

Witnesses reported seeing a huge fireball.

The fuselage was found nose-down in a side-canyon.

"The tactical people are rappelling down right now," Johnson says. "Anybody alive in there would have been burned. The whole thing was full of fuel."

The crash left a family dead.

Two brothers and a sister, ages 6 to 9, and their father, the plane's co-pilot, were on board. So were a co-pilot, believed to be the plane's owner, and a mechanic.

Johnson's wasn't ready to release the names as of about 9:30 a.m. Not all of the next-of-kin had been notified.

Three search-and-rescue teams were dispatched to the scene after the crash, which happened just after 6:30 p.m.

One team found the body of a child apart from the other wreckage -- "we don't know which child," Johnson says.

The plane had refueled before leaving for Stanfield, just south of Maricopa. For reasons that are as-of-yet unknown, the plane impacted into the west flanks of the Superstition Mountains just below the Flatiron formation, he says.

Authorities have closed Siphon Draw Gully, a popular trail that leads to the Flatiron, and other trails. Lost Dutchman State Park, the site of the staging area for the rescuers, is still open to camping and day use for people who had reservations, Johnson says.

Three people who had tried to hike up and see the wreckage this morning were chased off by deputies, he adds.

Several pieces of the plane that "looked important" were taken down by deputies, including what could possibly be the plane's information recorder, Johnson says.

Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board were due to arrive early this afternoon.

Below: AP/ABC-15 video on YouTube




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19 comments
Sandiegosucks2003
Sandiegosucks2003

thats what not drinking starbuks can cause and maybe a homo tendency

Roro
Roro

Then there was the Bozo who, right after the story broke and the debris was still burning, decided that it was a low-flying drug-runner.

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

Sad stuff. My heart goes out to all those affected by this tragedy.

Guest
Guest

To the previous commenters : You are the best examples of why Internet is so full of cr..p. 

Please, people possibly died in this crash.. and here you go with your political joke garbage.  For someone looking for information about possibly a loved one on this airplane, having to deal with lowlife comments is just too much to bear. Get a life.

PTCGAZ
PTCGAZ

Guest the internet is so full of crap because idiots like you need to be entertained.

Ross
Ross

Having to deal with media hog Babeu, Arpaio's Mini-Me, is just too much to bear.  He made sure he was in the spotlight last night. 

What is the fascination with small plane crashes?  They happen all the time, and people die.  If six people died in an SUV accident, even if they weren't illegals, do you think it would make the national news, even on a slow news night?  People who think these events are "news" are the best example of why the Internet is so full of crap.

StanleyTheNewsGuy
StanleyTheNewsGuy

Yikes! Mr Serious! And looking for breaking news at Phoenix New Times... Strange! But, hey, good luck with that!

PTCGAZ
PTCGAZ

I blame the pilot for being a dummy and running into a mountain side, what did he expect?

DaveC
DaveC

No, clearly it is still the fault of Bush or at least that is the liberal position going forward.

Mulletine
Mulletine

Yes, I would think the TV or radio might break new faster than the comments section of an older article...but you never know...

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