Bodies found in downed Ridgway Reservoir plane, but recovery must wait

(Credit: Patrick Moore, Ouray County Plaindealer correspondent)

(Credit: Patrick Moore, Ouray County Plaindealer correspondent)

RIDGWAY, Colo. — Divers located Monday the bodies of five people aboard a plane that went down in Ridgway Reservoir in Ouray County on Saturday afternoon, but were unable to recover them.

“Recovery operation divers have been successful today in locating all five victims inside the wreckage of the plane,” Ouray County spokeswoman Martha Whitmore said in a statement. “Due to the extensive damage and orientation of the wrecked plane, divers cannot safely recover any of the victims until the wreckage can be brought to shore. An aviation salvage team specializing in this type of wreckage has been contacted and will be on site on Wednesday to assist in the recovery.”

The identities of those aboard have not been officially confirmed, but the Gadsden Times of Alabama reported the victims are local businessman Jimmy Hill, Seth McDuffie, Katrina Vinzant Barksdale and her two sons, Xander and Kobe.

Five people were thought to have been aboard the single-engine Socata TBM700 when it crashed into the reservoir about 1:50 p.m. Saturday, Ouray County said.

The aircraft, which was registered to an Alabama corporation, had taken off from Bartlesville, Okla., and was on its way to Montrose, Ian Gregor of the Federal Aviation Administration said.

Portions of the plane, including the tail, have been found separated from the craft.

“Based on sonar images obtained today, it appears that the fuselage is intact, and that the wings are still attached,” Ouray County spokeswoman Martha Whitmore said in a statement Sunday.

The plane crashed about 90 feet from the shoreline into water up to 100 feet deep, she said.

Ridgway State Park will remain closed until further notice.