Originally Published: August 30, 2018 12:34 a.m.
Updated as of Thursday, August 30, 2018 3:23 PM
The single occupant of a small private plane was declared dead on scene Wednesday night, Aug. 29, after the aircraft crashed north of the Prescott Municipal Airport.
First responders were dispatched to the scene at about 8:35 p.m. They immediately blocked off all access roads to the crash site.
When Prescott Fire Marshall Don Devendorf arrived, he found a mangled aircraft in a grassy field. “It was engulfed in flames,” he said.
Firefighters quickly knocked down the blaze and began to search the area for any signs of life. None were found, Devendorf said.
“One occupant was located inside the aircraft and was confirmed deceased on scene,” said Prescott Police Department Deputy Chief Amy Bonney.
Preliminary information released by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported that the aircraft, a Cessna 210, crashed under unknown circumstances about a half-mile short of the approach end of runway 21R. Though the aircraft can carry as many as six people, only the pilot was on board, said FAA spokesperson Ian Gregor.
“The pilot had departed from Prescott and was planning to return to the airport,” Gregor said.
Both the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will be investigating the incident. “It typically takes the NTSB a year or more to determine a probable cause of an accident,” Gregor said.
The Prescott Police Department was initially assisting with the investigation, but since the crash occurred on a section of county land near the airport, the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office (YCSO) is now the primary local agency handling the incident.
As of Thursday afternoon, Aug. 30, the identity of the deceased occupant was still not confirmed. Dwight D'Evelyn with YCSO said this information is pending a medical examiner's report.
"This will likely occur next week and involves a dental records check," D'Evelyn said.
All air traffic control conversations are recorded and posted to LiveATC.net. The Courier listened to the recording of when the incident occurred, but little could be determined from it except that an aircraft planning to land didn’t complete its approach and an emergency situation was declared when another pilot saw that the aircraft was on fire.
The last aircraft to crash in the Prescott area occurred on May 29 when a six-seater Piper Malibu ran out of fuel and flipped on Iron Springs Road several miles southwest of the airport.
In that instance, all three occupants survived and were transported to the Yavapai Regional Medical Center in Prescott with only minor injuries.
Follow Max Efrein on Twitter @mefrein, email him at email@example.com or call him at 928-445-3333 ext. 1105.