Last week the New Mexico State Police verified that wreckage belonging to a missing airplane was located near the Sandia Crest Ski Area.

According to a press release, the Cessna single engine aircraft was traveling from Wichita Falls, Texas, to Las Vegas, Nev., and lost contact with radar earlier in the day in the same area. Three passengers from Texas were on board and did not survive the crash.

New Mexico Search and Rescue personnel activated a ground search team, but the search was suspended due to poor weather conditions.

The search continued the next day, with rescue crews consisting of members of the NMSAR, New Mexico State Police, Albuquerque Police Department, Civil Air Patrol and the U.S. Air Force, who searched via air and ground.

An aerial search located what appeared to be wreckage in the general search area, and was subsequently confirmed by ground crews to be that of the missing Cessna from Texas.

State Police later confirmed three bodies were amidst the wreckage and no survivors were on board the aircraft. The terrain in the area was treacherous, with steep inclines and almost a foot of snow, making the recovery effort tedious, according to State Police.

The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration will conduct independent investigations.

Leota Harriman
Leota Harriman

Leota started working for The Independent in 2006, working her way up through the ranks. An employee buyout in 2010 led to her ownership of the newspaper. Leota has served on the board of the N.M. Press Association, and is currently its First Vice President. She is passionate about health and wellness, especially mental health, and loves making art. She can be reached at news.ind.editor@gmail.com.