Search-and-rescue crews have located a crash site in New Mexico's Pecos Wilderness that authorities say could be that of a small private plane with two people aboard that was reported missing after taking off from an airport and vanishing without a trace.
A day after Officer Dusty Francisco of the New Mexico State Police told ABC News that rescue crews were searching the Pecos Wilderness near Santa Fe but had yet to find any sign of the single-engine, four-seat aircraft, authorities said Monday that they may have located evidence of a crash. However they could not confirm whether it was the missing plane.
Two people from Colorado were aboard the fixed-wing Grumman American AA-5 aircraft when it took off about 5:49 p.m. on Thursday from the Santa Fe Regional Airport.
"At about 6:01 p.m., the Santa Fe air traffic control lost contact with the airplane. The last known location from the airplane's emergency beacon pinged about a mile south of Tererro, New Mexico, in the Pecos Wilderness," New Mexico State Police said in a statement.
The names of the two people aboard the aircraft have not been released. They were seen refueling the airplane just before taking off, Francisco said.
The 42-year-old plane is registered to American Aircraft Brokers in Englewood, Colorado, a suburb of Denver, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records.
"We don’t have any reports of a plane that dropped off radar," the FAA officials said in a statement, adding that the plane was reported missing late Thursday night by its owner.
Francisco told ABC News Sunday that crews from New Mexico State Police, New Mexico Civil Air Patrol and the New Mexico Army National Guard were searching the Pecos Wilderness on the ground and from the air.
"I'm told there are about a million acres of wilderness to search," Francisco said.
A group of hunters in the Pecos Wilderness told a search-and-rescue team they saw a plane matching the description of the missing aircraft flying very low Thursday evening, Maj. John Graham of the New Mexico Civil Air Patrol told The Associated Press.