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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
11:19 AM Sat, Jan. 19th

Four Arizona men die in plane accident on Sunday

PRESCOTT ­ A pilot and three passengers died Sunday after a Cessna 180 crashed in a remote section of southeastern Yavapai County near Bloody Basin.

Yavapai County Sheriff's Office spokesman Scott Reed said the Federal Aviation Authority told the Sheriff's Department about the crash at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday after another pilot reported seeing the wreckage near the border with Gila County. The victims' plane had been flying to Payson from Pegasus Air Park in Queen Creek.

The Sheriff's Office identified the victims as Mark Hawkins, 51 of Queen Creek; Gene Cornwell, 46, and his 28-year-old son Heath, also of Queen Creek; and Landon Palomo, 28, of Gilbert. Reed said it appears that Hawkins owned and operated the plane. In effort to find the Cessna, the Sheriff's Office requested help from a Department of Public Safety Ranger helicopter, Reed said.

He said a rough terrain prevented the helicopter from landing near the crash scene when it found the downed plane. Instead, he said, it dropped off two of the Sheriff's Search and Rescue members at the nearest landing site and it took them a two-hour hike to get to the victims. Upon arrival none of the men showed signs of life, he said. He said after removal of the bodies, the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board started their investigation.

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