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Five feared dead in Colorado small plane crash

Published March 23, 2014 1:06 pm

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A dive team will work Sunday to find and recover the fuselage of a small plane that crashed into Ridgway Reservoir, about 25 miles south of Montrose, on Saturday.

Five people are believed to have been aboard when the single-engine Socata TBM700 crashed about 90 feet from shore in water up to 100 feet deep at about 2 p.m. No one is believed to have survived the crash.

A sheriff's deputy on the scene reported finding debris but no sign of the occupants. A search and rescue team searched until about 7 p.m. Saturday.

"We have recovered pieces of the tail yesterday, but the fuselage is in the water. We have a good sense of where it is but the water is very cold and very murky, so it is a little bit of a challenge to get in there," Ouray County spokeswoman Marti Whitmore said.

Recovery operations Sunday are concentrating on locating the fuselage in the reservoir and retrieving both the victims and the fuselage, as well as cleaning up any remaining debris.

Search teams in boats are on the reservoir Sunday morning, and Ouray Sheriff's Department dive teams are expected to be on site by early afternoon.

"The aircraft had departed from Gadsden, Ala., stopped in Bartlesville, Okla. and then departed for Montrose," said Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor.

The aircraft is a fixed-wing, single-engine 1996 model registered to Gadsden Aviation of Rainbow City, Alabama, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The company couldn't be reached for comment.

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate this accident.

The NTSB investigator usually posts a basic preliminary report on the agency's website within a week or two of an accident.

However, it typically takes NTSB months to come up with a probable cause for accidents, Gregor said.

Tom McGhee: 303-954-1671, tmcghee@denverpost.com or twitter.com/dpmcghee