Bodies of 2 plane crash victims found in southwest Colorado
December 6, 2011
SILVERTON, Colo. – The final two people killed in a plane crash in the southwest Colorado mountains were found Tuesday as federal investigators arrived to search for clues in the crash that killed three bank employees and a fourth person on their way to a Christmas party in Snowmass Village.
La Plata County sheriff’s spokesman Dan Bender said the victims were found midday during a search involving more than 30 rescuers from nine agencies.
Their names won’t be released until they are identified by the coroner and that wasn’t expected until Wednesday, he said.
The two other people killed who were previously found at the site near Silverton were identified by the sheriff’s office as 24-year-old Tyler Black and 26-year-old Jenna Rich, who both worked for Alpine Bank. Rich was known as Gena Rych but her driver’s license identified her as Jenna Rich.
The four were flying in a single-engine plane from Durango to Aspen when it crashed Saturday afternoon.
The conditions of the search were punishing. The elevation of the crash site is about 11,000 feet above sea level, the temperature fell to 22 degrees below zero and the debris was spread across an area that covers 1 1/4 miles.
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The National Transportation Safety Board said investigators might have to wait until summer before they can recover all of the clues from the crash.
“It is a very huge debris field. The search area is below the mountains below the timber line,” Bender said.
According to the president of Alpine Bank, three of the victims were Alpine Bank employees on their way to a Christmas party in Snowmass.
“The entire company is deeply touched by this event,” bank president Glen Jammaron said Monday in a statement. “All were highly regarded and will be remembered fondly.”
It was the second fatal plane crash near Silverton this year. A pilot and passenger were killed in the July 14 crash of a small plane. The cause is still under investigation.