Sedona AZ (July 26, 2012) – This morning at approximately 8:24 a.m., Sedona Police and Sedona Fire District personnel responded to a report of a plane crash near the Sedona Airport. Three people are presumed to have been on-board when the airplane was attempting to lift off and crashed.
The plane, a Beech B-60, is registered to a two-time Olympic runner, Patrick Porter, of New Mexico. Porter was reported to have been visiting Sedona. He is married with two children. Three people died in the crash, but officials cannot yet confirm who was on board. The Yavapai County Medical Examiner will identify the bodies and after notification of next of kin, names and ages will be released.
The Sedona Airport sits atop Table Mountain mesa. The airport elevation is 4,827 feet and the runway is 5,130 feet long. It has a modern National Weather Service (NOAA) reporting station, and over 100 based aircraft with a variety of airport based tour and charter operations.
The Sedona airport is one of over 6,000 un-controlled airports in the United States. Pilots flying in and out of the airport manage themselves by following the rules of aviation and communicating with each other.
Upon arrival, Sedona Fire District personnel and Sedona Police discovered that a small aircraft was engulfed in flames near the bottom of the mesa at the south end of the airport runway. Initial information and observations at the scene indicate that the aircraft went through the fence at the south end of the runway and down the side of the mesa.
It has not been confirmed by the investigators how many people were in the aircraft at the time of the accident, although three are presumed. No survivors were located at the site of the wreckage when the first responders arrived on scene. Three bodies were transported to the Yavapai County Medical Examiner late this afternoon for identification.
Sedona Police investigators are continuing to gather additional information. The National Transportation Safety Board will head the investigation that will include the FAA.
The Sedona-Oak Creek Airport Authority (501)(c3) was formed to take over management of the airport in 1971. Modern safety elements such as runway overruns, GPS electronic approaches, and hi-intensity PAPI approach lights, and relocation of fuel tanks are proposals under consideration for upgrading the airport in the future.
A prior accident at the Sedona Airport occurred on October 19, 2010 when a too fast approaching Net Jet bounced three times during a hard landing but the plane was able to pull out and do a come-around for a safe landing. The SedonaEye.com, first on the scene with an eyewitness reporting the accident, broke the Net Jet news story here http://sedonaeye.com/sedona-airport-net-jet-bounces.