News24

Kids dead in US plane crash

2011-11-25 07:30

Washington - A father and three children who were flying home to celebrate Thanksgiving together were among the victims of a fiery plane crash in Arizona that killed six people, authorities said on Thursday.

Their twin engine aircraft slammed into the Superstition Mountains minutes after taking off from an airfield in Mesa, Arizona on Wednesday, killing a pilot, mechanic, co-pilot and his two sons and daughter, aged 6, 8 and 9.

"No person could survive this mountainside crash and explosion," Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu said on Thursday.

"We express deep sympathy to the families and friends of the crash victims he added," referring among others to the mother of the three children, a local pilot herself who reportedly was told of the accident late Wednesday.

The plane's co-pilot, 39-year-old Shawn Perry, was the father of the three children killed in the crash.

Perry and fellow co-pilot Russell Hardy "landed at Falcon Field from Safford, Arizona at 16:30 to refuel and pick-up his two sons and daughter. Their goal was to fly back to Safford to celebrate Thanksgiving together", the sheriff's office said.

Emergency crews struggled through rough terrain to reach the crash site on Wednesday and helicopters used an infrared detector to locate any survivors in the dark. None was found.

Local authorities did not know what caused the crash of the dual-engine Rockwell 690A.

Babeu said the National Transportation Safety was now handling the probe.

The accident occurred as millions of Americans journeyed around the United States ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, always one of the country's busiest travel days of the year.