ST. GEORGE – A small plane reported missing yesterday was found crashed in San Juan County late Friday afternoon. Family members of those involved said there were no survivors among the four men who were aboard the plane.
According to the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office, the plane was located in eastern San Juan County around 5 p.m. with the assistance of the Civil Air Patrol and allied agencies in neighboring Colorado.
Lynn Lunsford, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, told Fox 13 News the wreckage was found about 18 miles southeast of Monticello.
The plane, a Piper Lance, was carrying four men from Alberta, Canada, and took off from Cut Bank, Montana, Wednesday bound for New Mexico, Canadian news agency CNCnews reports. While en route they were forced to land in Grand Junction, Colorado, due to bad weather, according to KDVR in Denver.
The plane left Grand Junction 10 a.m. Thursday for Albuquerque but did not arrive, triggering the search.
A spokesman for the Civil Air Patrol told CDCnews that the plane went off the radar around 10:30 a.m.
A search plane sent out of Albuquerque was able to pick up on the plane’s emergency beacon that helped guide search parties to the downed plane’s location.
On the flight were pilot Bill Kaupp, 64, Clint Kaupp, 28, Tim Mueller, 28, and Ron McKenzie, 66.
Family members posting over the Kaupp Family Farms social media accounts, Twitter in particular, began asking for help locating the missing plane Thursday, later confirming Friday that the crashed plane had been found with no survivors.
The family members released the following statement via Kaupp Family Farms Friday evening:
It is with a heavy heart that I must announce that the plane has been located with no survivors. I want to tell everyone how much I appreciate the sharing, good wishes and all the condolences given over today. There’s still a lot of good in this very scary world. In the future I will talk about how great the four people that we lost were to everyone that knew them, but for now we are going to grieve.
Thank you everybody.
The San Juan County Sheriff’s Office turned the investigation of the crash over to the FAA. Oversight of the investigation will ultimately be handled by the National Transportation Safety Board.
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