A plane crash north of the Jerry Creek Reservoir near the town of Molina claims the life of the pilot and sole occupant of the twin engine aircraft, according to the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office.
Officials say the flight originated in Delta County from Blake Field in route to Rock Springs, Wyoming.
Denver air traffic control reported it lost communication and radar contact with the twin-engine aircraft in the area of Castle Peak at approximately 9 am on Monday. “Deputies and the Plateau Valley Fire Department immediately began searching the area. With the help of some air resources we were able to locate a plane that did crash. We have now confirmed the sole occupant is deceased,” said Megan Terlecky with Mesa County Sheriff’s Office.
KREX 5 and FOX 4 learned from the FAA and Sky Vector data the aircraft appears to have fractional ownership by Cannon Oil & Gas and Well Services out of Rocksprings, Wyoming.
The data also shows the plane was a 1980 Beechcraft Baron that can carry up to six people.
Minute maps on Sky Vector show the plane was ascending a thousand feet per minute, but the plane suddenly loses altitude and Denver air traffic control loses contact with the aircraft. The plane was 15,000 feet, or 4,000 feet above the Grand Mesa and crashed on the lee side. It’s not clear if the plane broke up in the air or upon impact with the mountain side.
The investigation will take months to resolve, but some of the factors investigators may be looking at include: the age of the plane, if it was well maintained, the incoming storm and whether high winds on top of the Grand Mesa may have created a phenomenon known as mountain wave which can pull an aircraft of any size out of the air.
Terlecky says, “The Mesa County coroner’s office is responsible for making the identification of the deceased, and that will be released and made public once next of kin is notified.”
KREX 5 and FOX 4 will provide additional details once the information is available.