Family headed to Grand Canyon killed in Eagar plane crash

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Investigators are not speculating on what might have caused a single-engine Piper to nosedive into a high school in eastern Arizona, killing all four people aboard late last week. By Catherine Holland Investigators are not speculating on what might have caused a single-engine Piper to nosedive into a high school in eastern Arizona, killing all four people aboard late last week. By Catherine Holland
Investigators are not speculating on what might have caused a single-engine Piper to nosedive into a high school in eastern Arizona, killing all four people aboard late last week. By Catherine Holland Investigators are not speculating on what might have caused a single-engine Piper to nosedive into a high school in eastern Arizona, killing all four people aboard late last week. By Catherine Holland
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

EAGAR, Ariz. -- Authorities say four members of a Florida family were killed when their plane crashed into a high school in eastern Arizona on Friday.

The single-engine Piper reportedly had just taken off from Springerville Municipal Airport at about 2 p.m. when it crashed into Round Valley High School and exploded into flames.

Sgt. Richard Guinn with the Apache County Sheriff's Office identified the victims as Jeffrey, Ronna, Alexa and Carlie Ulrich. Federal records show the 1976 Piper was registered to Jeffrey Ulrich of Wesley Chapel, Fla. Guinn said the family was headed to the Grand Canyon.

Investigators are not speculating on what might have caused the plane to nosedive into the school.

Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board spent the weekend sifting through twisted metal and debris in an effort to piece together exactly what happened. The wreckage of the plane was loaded onto flatbed trailer and taken to an undisclosed location in Phoenix for further examination.

Round Valley's "Freshman Hall" and a portion of the auditorium were destroyed. Because it is summer break, nobody was inside the school when the plane went down.

Several people, however, saw it.

"At first, the plane was flying really low so I was figuring it was about to crash," said Cameron Sayles, who will be a senior at Round Valley High School next year. "Basically what it did was nosedive right into the top of the school. The wing kind of fell off to the side onto the lawn. ... When we left, we heard a loud explosion."

While federal officials have wrapped up their on-site investigation, police in Eagar, which is about 200 miles east of Phoenix, have blocked off a large area around the badly damaged school to keep people out of harm's way.

ORIGINAL STORY: Plane crash into high school in eastern Arizona under investigation

EAGAR, Ariz. -- A small plane crashed into a high school in eastern Arizona Friday afternoon killing four people.

Sgt. Richard Guinn from the Apache County Sheriff's Office said a light aircraft was seen circling Round Valley High School in Eagar, Ariz., at 2 p.m.

The plane circled a few times and nose-dived into the main building of the high school, sparking a fire.

The last day of school was May 21, so no students were on campus and no one was in the building that the plane crashed into.

There are no reports of injuries at this time. No information on the pilot is available.

People around the school were evacuated while crew battled the blaze. Guinn said the evacuations were precautionary due to smoke and emergency vehicles in the area.

Investigators are trying to identify those aboard the plane. There was extensive damage to the plane and the school, so the investigation will take some time.

According to 3TV Meteorologist Royal Norman, wind gusts in the area were 30 to 40 mph.

Due to the plane crash, 3TV was informed the Town Hall meeting that was being held at the high school took place at the Eagar Blue Building.