5 people feared dead after plane plunges into Ridgway reservoir

Five people were believed to have been killed when the small plane they were in crashed Saturday into Ridgway Reservoir, but no bodies have been found, an official with Ouray County Emergency Management said.

The crash was reported shortly before 2 p.m. Saturday and crews spent most of the afternoon retrieving the plane and looking for survivors before ending the search at 7 p.m.

Recovery efforts will resume this morning. The identities of those on board were not released Saturday night.

Colorado State Parks has closed Ridgway Reservoir, about 25 miles south of Montrose, to allow a dive team and other resources to finish recovery operations and complete any cleanup of spilled fuel and debris, said Marti Whitmore, an emergency management spokeswoman.

Ian Gregor, spokesman with the Federal Aviation Administration Pacific Division, wrote in an email that the downed plane was a single-engine Socata TBM700 flying to Montrose from Bartlesville, Okla.

The plane was registered to an Alabama corporation, but didn’t have a tail number.

Whitmore said the plane crashed into 60 to 90 feet of water about 90 feet from the reservoir’s shore.

Colona resident Steven Vining told reporter William Woody of watchnewspapers.com that he saw a small plane in a “flat dead spin” moments before it hit the water.

Vining was at a wedding at a home above the reservoir at the time of the crash, he told Woody.

The National Transportation Safety Board and FAA will investigate the crash, Gregor said. The NTSB investigator often posts preliminary findings at ntsb.gov within a week or two of a crash.

It may take months, however, to determine the cause for the crash, he added.


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