A family of four have been killed after the small plane they were on crashed on its way to a Colorado ski resort.
The bodies of Eric Falbe, 44, his wife Carrie, 34, and his two daughters from a previous marriage – 14-year-old Victoria and 12-year-old Skylar – were found in the plane wreckage in Arizona on Tuesday.
Searchers found the bodies among the debris from the single-engine Cessna 210 after it was spotted north of Payson on the rugged Mogollon Rim.
The plane crashed on a flight from Scottsdale, Arizona to the ski resort town of Telluride in Colorado for the family’s annual holiday.
The plane had been reported missing Monday night.
Gila County Sheriff Adam Shepherd said the cause of the crash wasn’t immediately known.
The sheriff’s office verified the plane’s tail number matched Federal Aviation Administration records identifying the owner as Mr Falbe.
Mr Falbe was a lawyer who specialized in real estate mediation.
His law partner confirmed that he was aboard the downed plane along with his wife, and his two daughters.
The girls, Victoria and Skylar, attended Cicero Preparatory Academy in Scottsdale.
‘Our sincerest condolences go out to the Falbe family for their tragic loss,’ school officials said in a statement. ‘Grief counselors will be available when school returns Monday.’
The sheriff’s office was notified about the missing plane by Scottsdale police.
According to the police report, a man told authorities his 31-year-old daughter, son-in-law and two girls didn’t check in after planning to fly to Telluride.
The four were on a yearly trip they always take around the Christmas holidays, according to relatives.
Police started a search for the family’s cellphone signal and one was detected near Payson.
A state police helicopter, the Civil Air Patrol and sheriff’s searchers on the ground worked together to find the plane.
Rescuers had to hike nearly an hour to the crash site.
‘The terrain up there is just really super rugged,’ Shepherd said. ‘It’s pretty rough, steep, straight up and down.’
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Emily Crane; The Associated Press