Plane in Sedona crash registered to former Olympian

Posted: Updated:
By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

SEDONA, Ariz. -- The plane that crashed at the Sedona Airport Thursday morning was registered to a two-time Olympian.

Albuquerque resident Patrick Porter, who was a runner, owned the small aircraft that went off the end of the runway and caught on fire after falling into a ravine.

Three people died in the crash, but officials can’t yet confirm who was on board.

Porter and his wife, Trish Porter, live in Albuquerque with their two children. Eye witnesses, however, said that they had seen Porter in Sedona the last few days.

The owner of the Mesa Grill, which is near the Sedona Airport, said Porter had dined there multiple times in the last week. He was last in the restaurant on Wednesday evening.

Joe Waters was towing a helicopter at the airport when he witnessed the crash. He said he saw the twin-engine plane go about halfway down the runway. Both engines were running and everything seemed to be fine.

"He gets down about three quarters of the way down the runway and I started to wonder why he wasn't lifting off," Waters said. "Just before he got to the end of the runway, I saw him pull the nose up just a little bit then he disappeared off the end of the runway and went down below the hill. The next thing I saw was just a ball of fire and smoke."

Waters added that he doesn’t believe weather played a role in the crash because the conditions were clear and calm.