Small plane crash in Arizona kills four

PHOENIX (Reuters) - A small plane flying from Arizona to Colorado crashed northeast of the Phoenix area, killing all four people on board, sheriff’s department and aviation officials said on Tuesday.

The Cessna 210 crashed late on Monday in steep, rugged terrain about 15 miles north of Payson, Arizona, authorities said. The cause has not been determined.

Earlier, Gila County Sheriff Adam Shepherd said by telephone that rescuers searching the crash site located three victims in the morning, but the fourth person aboard the plane had yet to be found. Shepherd later confirmed the fourth fatality.

The victims were not immediately identified.

The plane was en route from Scottsdale, Arizona, to Telluride, Colorado when the crash occurred.

Deputies were able to locate the downed plane by asking a phone company to “ping” the cell phone of one of the people aboard the plane, Shepherd said. In general, phone companies can triangulate a phone’s location using networking satellites or communications towers.

Deputies then spotted the wreckage with help from the Arizona Department of Public Safety and the U.S. Air Force Civil Air Patrol.

A spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration said the agency was investigating the crash along with the National Transportation Safety Board.

Reporting by David Schwartz in Phoenix, Arizona; Editing by Eric M. Johnson, Tom Brown and David Gregorio