2 killed in plane crash near Flagstaff


by Jennifer Thomas

Video report by Jared Dillingham

Posted on May 28, 2013 at 7:46 PM

Updated Thursday, May 30 at 3:54 PM

Map: Plane crash

View larger map

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- Two people died in a plane crash about 15 miles south of downtown Flagstaff Tuesday morning.

According to the Coconino County Sheriff's Office, the Beechcraft Bonanza took off from Pulliam Airport in Flagstaff then started to lose altitude. The small plane struck some trees, hit the ground and burst into flames, starting a small forest fire.

Before the arrival of emergency responders, several citizens attempted to extinguish the flames and attend to the occupants.

Despite strong winds, crews of the Highlands Fire Department and the Bear Jaw Wildland Fire Crew quickly contained the wildland fire to a quarter acre, according to sheriff's spokesman Gerry Blair.

The crash occurred south of the airport and within a hundred feet of residential structures near the end of Tonawanda Road, but no structures were damaged by the crash or the fire.

Resident Pat Policastro said she heard a loud engine noise and saw the plane descend then saw flames higher than the 50-foot pine trees in the area.

"I knew it was over for the people that were on that plane," Policastro said.

The single-engine privately owned aircraft is registered out of California. It was headed to Tuba City on the Navajo Nation.

The identity of the occupants is still being determined and will not be released until notification of next of kin.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the cause of the crash.