Wreckage of missing plane found

Posted: Updated:
By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PAYSON, Ariz. -- Officials have found the plane that went missing earlier this week after taking off from Mesa’s Falcon Field.

A DPS helicopter spotted the wreckage of a small airplane Saturday morning just northwest of Strawberry.

Search and rescue teams from the Gila County Sheriff’s Department arrived on scene and discovered three bodies after combing the area.

“This plane was confirmed to be the missing flight that left Falcon Field Airport on September 13, and the three deceased in it are believed to be the occupants of the that flight,” said Greg Roybal with Arizona Emergency Management.

The plane left Falcon Field carrying instructor Taylor Bennell, student pilot Lucas Westenberg, and passenger Rob Van Den Heuvel.

Officials have yet to officially identify the bodies that were found on Saturday. The FAA is investigating the cause of the crash.