KINGMAN - Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board spent Thursday sifting through the wreckage of a single-engine aircraft that crashed Wednesday on the Arizona Strip, killing all four occupants.
The Mohave County Sheriff's Office has identified the victims as a family from Stone Mountain, Ga. They include Luis Decastro, 44, Laura Decastro, 41, Nadia Decastro, 7, and Trevor Decastro, 4.
Sandy Edwards, assistant media specialist, said all died on impact. Three of the victims were found outside the 2005 Cirrus SR22 single engine aircraft and one inside.
Innovative Hospitality Systems of New Orleans was the owner of the plane, which crashed about 60 miles east of Las Vegas in rugged terrain.
"The plane was on a flight from the San Francisco Bay area to Phoenix when it went down in Mohave County," said Allen Kenitzer, spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration's Northwest Mountain Region office in Seattle.
"Radio reports said the pilot was detouring around bad weather but got caught up in it. He experienced a severe (wing) icing problem at 13,000 feet, declared an emergency to air traffic at the Los Angeles Center and shortly thereafter contact was lost with him."
The crash was first reported about 12:30 p.m. Wednesday to the MCSO, which immediately dispatched Search & Rescue units.
The MCSO requested assistance from Kingman Ranger, the Department of Public Safety air rescue helicopter, in locating the downed plane, DPS paramedic Phil Castellano said.
"We found the craft around 2 p.m. and landed nearby," Castellano said. "Our paramedic checked for survivors and found none, so we got back in the air and radioed in."
Ground vehicles could not access the scene, making it necessary to enter on foot. That prevented searchers from reaching the crash site until after daybreak Thursday.
Castellano said Ranger ferried investigators from the NTSB and FAA to the site during the day.
In addition, the Mohave County medical examiner was on the scene Thursday and autopsies on the victims are expected, Edwards said.
"The craft did not burn up, but it sure was crumbled," Edwards said.