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4 dead in plane crash near Zion National Park

Photo taken from the KTNV Ch. 13 chopper

4 dead in plane crash near Zion National Park

CREATED May 30, 2012

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- The Kane County Sheriff's Office has confirmed that four people are dead after a plane that took off from the North Las Vegas Airport crashed near Utah's Zion National Park.

According to Public Affairs Manager Ian Gregor from the Federal Aviation Administration, the single-engine Cirrus SR20 took off from the North Las Vegas Airport shortly before 10 a.m. Tuesday. 

From North Las Vegas, the plane traveled to Mesquite, Nev., where it made a brief stop.

An emergency signal was received Tuesday afternoon by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Rescue Center in Florida. The Utah Civil Air Patrol was dispatched to look for the plane.

The wreckage was spotted at about 7:30 p.m. in a remote area of western Kane County near the Zion National Park.

The sheriff's office was dispatched to the remote location to guide and assist a search party in verifying the wreckage and assist in any recovery on the scene. Kane County also dispatched its own plane.

Due to the remote location and darkness, the search was called off at about 1 a.m. Wednesday morning. The search resumed at day break and it was verified that the plane is at the top of a remote ridge.

The ridge is located at approximately 18 miles north of Highway 9 and East North Fork Road.

Kane County has requested the assistance of the Utah High Patrol in the recovery process.

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating the crash. Investigators from both agencies and the plane's manufacturer are en route to the crash site.

A preliminary report should be posted on the NTSB's website within a week or two of an accident. However, it typically take NTSB months to come up with a probable cause for accidents.

According to the FAA registry, the plane is registered to Hunt Aviation, which is based in Las Vegas.

However, the plane is listed as part of the fleet operated by Elite Flight Training & Management, located on Airport Drive in North Las Vegas.

According to the company's website, the company has 20 flight instructors and 15 aircrafts. The company also manages numerous aircrafts.

The identities of the deceased have not been released.

This is the second airplane crash in Utah in less than a week. Four people were killed May 26 when a plane crashed near the airport in St. George, Utah.

Statement released by Elite Flight Training and Management:

At approximately 12 p.m. on Tuesday, May 29, Elite Flight Training and Management was informed that Search and Rescue was receiving an emergency locator signal from one of our aircrafts, a Cirrus Aircraft SR-20. The aircraft was traveling to southern Utah for a trip to Bryce Canyon.

The pilot was very experienced in the aircraft and was on a non-training pleasure flight. Early on the morning of Wednesday, May 30, Search and Rescue discovered the aircraft in a remote area of Southern Utah. There were four people aboard the aircraft. Elite Flight Training and Management has no additional information and cannot comment on the ongoing NTSB investigation as to the cause of the accident.

Elite Flight Training and Management would like to extend our deepest condolences to the families of those on board the aircraft.