Plane crash kills 3 in Sedona
A Tucson area couple, their adult niece from Sacramento, and a dog are believed to be the fatal victims in a Sunday plane crash near Sedona's Airport. The plane crashed and burned shortly after noon as it was setting down so occupants could get lunch in Sedona.
The single-engine Beechcraft Debonaire is based at the La Cholla Air Park, a residential area built around a private air strip in the Tortolita Mountain foothills on Oro Valley's northwest side.
Pilot James Franklin was bringing the plane in low for a landing on the strip, when a wing touched the ground and the plane tumbled into the brush caught fire and burned. The craft burned so badly that the plane identification number could not even be read.
Witnesses reported to investigators that the engine was running at the time and is not suspected in the crash.
The plane crashed into a wooded area and burned near the parking for the Airport Vortex. Fire crews brought an engine and pumper to the air strip itself above the crash scene. Another engine was staged below the accident on the airport access road. Airport Road was closed for an hour while emergency crews worked.
Sedona Fire Spokesman Gary Johnson says crews doused the brush fire that resulted and allowed the remainder of the air fuel to burn off from the wing tanks before the recovery was attempted.
The occupants are believed to have died instantly.
Sedona Airport Manager Mac McCall says wind conditions were gusty Sunday, but that is not likely to be the only factor in the fatal accident. He said the plane was landing on Runway 21 from the north, struck the side of the mountain and careened into the forest between the runway and the access road.
The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board inspected the accident Monday and were expected to airlift the wreckage for inspection off site.