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Small plane plummets before crash

November 16, 2011, 06:52 pm

A single-engine plane crashed in Colorado after first plummeting 7,000 feet in one minute before hitting the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Both the pilot and passenger died in the incident.

The victims of the crash - Dr. Michael Welton and Roswitha Marold - were both from Waterloo, Iowa. National Transportation Safety Board investigator Jason Aguilera told the Denver Post that the pilot might have lost control of the plane due to turbulence or wind currents.

According to The Associated Press, the plane was making a trip from Phoenix to Pueblo, Colorado, and the conditions at the time of the crash were conducive to ice forming on the plane's surface. Other pilots in Colorado said they experienced moderate icing.

Aguilera said ice can add weight to the plane and alter a pilot's handling of the aircraft. The six-seat single-engine Piper Malibu was flying about 25,000 feet when it quickly dropped 14,200 feet and then climbed back up to 19,200 feet. After its climb, the plane then plummeted at more than 7,000 feet per minute and the radar contact was lost, the source reported. The incident underscores the importance of investing in pilot insurance.

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