Sherry Anderson, Sherman Anderson and Eric Durban have been identified Monday as the Arizona pilots who were killed when their private plane crashed in Telluride, Colo., on Sunday, according to a news release from the San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office.
The Andersons and Durban were flying in a single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza that crashed into a cliff band 1 mile west of Telluride Regional Airport -- the airport that the plane took off from. The airplane was found following a four-hour search by San Miguel County sheriff’s deputies surveying the area from a helicopter.
Sherry Anderson was 57 years old, Sherman Anderson was 64 and Durban was 48. The Andersons, who had a daughter, were from Phoenix. Durban was from Mesa, Ariz., and had a wife and two children, according to the sheriff’s office. The Andersons were both commercial pilots while Durban was a former military pilot.
Recovery operations began Monday morning. San Miguel County Sheriff Bill Masters wouldn’t give a timetable as to when the operation would be completed.
“It’s a technical process, and given the precarious position of the aircraft, it will take some time,” Masters said in a statement.
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The plane took off from Telluride Regional Airport at 11:20 a.m. Sunday morning in light snow and 1-mile visibility and calm winds. It was headed for Cortez, Colo., a town about 75 miles southwest of Telluride, according to the sheriff’s office.
The search for the plane began around 12:40 p.m. Sunday after air traffic control at the Telluride and Denver airports lost communication with the aircraft. The last communication was between the pilot and air traffic control at Telluride shortly before the plane took off.
Sheriff’s deputies searching in a helicopter located the plane around 5:17 p.m. Sunday. Deputies on the ground confirmed that there were no survivors in the Telluride plane crash.
“This is certainly not the outcome we were hoping for, it’s just a terrible tragedy,” Masters said.
The sheriff’s office said the National Transportation Safety Board will be conducting an investigation into the crash. The NTSB will begin recovering the plane Tuesday, according to the Denver Post.