Thursday, November 24, 2011

6 killed in Arizona plane crash - 24th Nov 2011

Six people are believed to have been killed when a small plane crashed in a fireball in the Superstition Mountains in Arizona.

The twin-engine aircraft was carrying three adults and three children to a Thanksgiving gathering, Pinal county Sheriff Paul Babeu said.

Ten search and rescue workers have been dropped by helicopter near to the crash site to look for survivors.

"At this point, we can't confirm there would be survivors. Our hope is that there would be, but it does not look promising," Mr Babeu added.

Officials said the plane - a Rockwell AC69 - had refuelled shortly before it crashed and ignited a wildfire.

It came down in steep, cliff-like terrain near a remote summit called Flat Iron, about 45 miles east of Phoenix.

Television news footage showed a fire blazing in the dark.

The plane was registered to an air charter firm Ponderosa Aviation, based in Safford, Arizona.

The company has eight full-time pilots and has been in operation since 1974, according to its website.

"What we understand is that this aircraft flew from Safford to Falcon Field in Mesa (near Phoenix) to pick up children for Thanksgiving, to go back to Safford, so it's heartbreaking if that's the case," Mr Babeu said.

As well as the three children, the other people believed to be on board the plane were the pilot, a mechanic and another adult, he added. Source