Two separate small plane crashes occurred within hours of one another in Arizona on Sunday, killing six, and in one case, starting a wildfire, Fox News is reporting.
In the first and most serious incident, a single-engine plane was reportedly seen by hikers crashing into Mogollon Rim, according to the Arizona Republic, around 3 pm local time on Sunday. It was found a few hours later by the United States Forest Service. A spokesperson for the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office reported that four people were confirmed dead; their names and ages were not yet available as of this post.
The crash sparked a wildfire, called the Fay Fire, which burned about 25 acres in the Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness area of Fay Canyon. This summer has already been a bad wildfire season in Arizona: see this Inquisitr article about the San Juan Fire earlier this month. As of this post, the fire is still burning, according to the following tweet from the United States Wildland Firefighters/ Southwest Wildland Firefighters:
Fay Fire Burning in Wilderness Area Arizona The Fay Fire, reported just before 4 p.m. yesterday, is located… http://t.co/vladUufGDZ
— SWWFF (@USWFASWWFF) July 21, 2014
In the second, unrelated incident, ABC News reports that another small plane went down in Arizona’s Mohave County, near the Arizona-Utah border, around 6:30 pm local time. According to Sgt. John T. Bottoms of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, ground crews were able to reach the plane, which was on a ledge, and extinguish the fire with water carried in crew members’ backpacks. KPHO-TV reports that the crash killed two people. As of this post, the victims’ names and ages are not available. Arizona Republic tweeted this image of the second crash (WARNING: potentially disturbing image).
— azcentral (@azcentral) July 21, 2014
According to ABC News, 97 percent of aviation-related deaths occur in G.A., or General Aviation (that is, private planes), as opposed to commercial flights. Nearly 500 Americans die in small plane crashes each year, on average.
Both the FAA and the National Transportation Safety board will be investigating the two Arizona plane crashes.
[Image source: Fox News]