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4 killed in small plane crash near Dolores in southwest Colorado

Posted at 2:16 PM, Feb 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-23 22:25:38-05

DOLORES, Colo. — Four people were killed in a small plane crash near the town of Dolores in southwest Colorado.

Jen Knellinger, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Wing Civil Air Patrol, says search crews found the wreckage of the Piper Lance near Dolores on Friday evening. She told the Associated Press the plane crashed in an area rutted with canyons and covered in up to a foot of snow.

The Canadian-registered aircraft took off from Grand Junction Regional Airport Thursday morning and disappeared from radar about 30 minutes later.

According to ABC News, the pilot of the aircraft, 65-year-old Bill Kaupp, was planning to fly another son, 28-year-old Clint Kaupp, and two family friends over Moab and then south to their destination in Albuquerque, New Mexico. 

The Kaupp family was pleading for help locating the missing aircraft, asking people on social media to contact airports between Grand Junction and Albuquerque.

Canadian news sites report the plane took off from Montana Wednesday but was forced to land in Grand Junction due to bad weather.

Search and rescue crews spent most of the day Friday searching for the plane, focusing on the area where the wreckage was located after electronic locator transmitter data placed the aircraft to that spot.  

A ground crew from Montrose was dispatched after aircrews from New Mexico were forced to turn around due to snow, according to a release from the Civil Air Patrol.

Knellinger says the area is beautiful to fly through but is dangerous when it's snowing.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash.