Ridgway Reservoir plane crash: 5 believed to be dead in sunken wreckage

Campground and day facilities closed temporarily

RIDGWAY, Colo. - Investigators believe there are no survivors after a small plane crashed in Ridgway Reservoir Saturday.

The plane -- a single-engine Socata TBM700 -- crashed at 1:50 p.m. Saturday. The reservoir is within Ridgway State Park and is about 30 miles south of Montrose.

"Recovery operations today were focused on accurately locating the fuselage and evaluating logistical needs to recover the victims and the fuselage," the Ouray County Sheriff's Office said. "Based on sonar images obtained (Sunday), it appears that the fuselage is intact, and that the wings are still attached.   Dive teams were on site today to confirm and mark the location for further recovery efforts."

Additional dive crews and equipment will be brought in after side-scan sonar located the main wreckage on the bottom of the reservoir.

"It is believed that five people were on board," the Ouray County Emergency Management stated. The identities of those on board will not been released until the bodies are recovered.

The aircraft had departed from Bartlesville, Okla. and was headed to Montrose, according to Ian Gregor with the FAA.

"The plane crashed about 90 feet from shore in 60 to 90 feet of water," officials said.

Rescue dive teams attached a line to the tail of the plane and it was towed to the park marina at 5 p.m. Saturday. It reached the marina just before 6 p.m. and rescuers were waiting for NTSB investigators.

Officials held a news conference Sunday night and had a message for families of the victims: "You are in our thoughts and prayers."

Ridgway State Park remains closed to the public through Monday so that search and recovery efforts can continue.

A memorial service and candlelight vigil was held Sunday night in Gadsden, Ala., for the five victims, two of whom are elementary school age, according to the Gadsden Times.

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