A small plane flying from Arizona to Colorado crashed northeast of the Phoenix area, killing at least three of the four people on board, sheriff’s department and aviation officials said on Tuesday.
The Cessna 210 crashed late on Monday in steep, rugged terrain about 15 miles north of Payson, Arizona, authorities said. The cause has not been determined.
The three people confirmed killed were located at the crash site early on Tuesday morning by rescuers, but the fourth person aboard the plane has yet to be found, Gila County Sheriff Adam Shepherd said by telephone.
The victims were not immediately identified.
The plane was en route from Scottsdale, Arizona, to Telluride, Colorado when the crash occurred.
Deputies were able to locate the downed plane by asking a phone company to “ping” the cell phone of one of the people aboard the plane, Shepherd said. In general, phone companies can triangulate a phone’s location using networking satellites or communications towers.
Deputies then spotted the wreckage with help from the Arizona Department of Public Safety and the U.S. Air Force Civil Air Patrol.
A spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration said the agency was investigating the crash along with the National Transportation Safety Board.