Bodies recovered from Ridgway Reservoir

Rescue personnel examine the tail section of a plane Saturday after it was recovered from Ridgway Reservoir, 25 miles south of Montrose. It was believed to be carrying five people, and authorities say all are feared dead. Enlargephoto

Patrick Moore/Ouray County Plaindealer

Rescue personnel examine the tail section of a plane Saturday after it was recovered from Ridgway Reservoir, 25 miles south of Montrose. It was believed to be carrying five people, and authorities say all are feared dead.

DENVER — Authorities have recovered the bodies of five people from Alabama who were killed when a single-engine plane crashed into the Ridgway Reservoir.

The victims and the wreckage of the plane were recovered from the reservoir Thursday.

Ouray County officials identified the dead as 48-year-old Jimmy Hill, 30-year-old Katrina Barksdale, Barksdale’s sons, 11-year-old Kobe and 8-year-old Xander, and Barksdale’s 14-year-old nephew, Seth McDuffie.

All were from Gadsden, Ala., where the flight originated.

The single-engine plane crashed Saturday on a flight bound for Montrose, about 25 miles north of the reservoir. Federal aviation investigators are looking for the cause.

The wreckage was upside down and partially buried in silt under about 60 feet of water.

The single-engine Socata TBM700 crashed at about 2 p.m. Saturday into Ridgway Reservoir, about 25 miles south of Montrose and about 100 miles northeast of Cortez.

The plane was bound for Montrose and had made an intermediate stop in Bartlesville, Okla., Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said.

The cause of the crash isn’t yet known.

According to preliminary reports, the pilot reported that the plane was in a spin before losing communication, National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Eric Weiss said Monday.

That’s consistent with an eyewitness account from a woman who was attending a wedding nearby when the plane crashed.

“It popped out of the thick, heavy clouds and went into a flat spin,” Lena Martinez told the Ouray County Plaindealer.

Such eyewitness accounts have been turned over to the FAA and the NTSB for their investigations.

The tail separated from the plane but the rest of the wreckage was relatively complete, although damaged, authorities said. Sheriff Dominic Mattivi said one wing was nearly severed.

The plane is registered to an Alabama corporation. Messages left for the company weren’t immediately returned.

In Alabama, a makeshift memorial appeared outside Gadsden’s Mitchell Elementary School for two boys thought to have been on the plane.

Two small football helmets, two teddy bears, flowers and candles were piled among written notes from classmates.

Stephen Powell of Gadsden brought his 9-year-old son to the memorial Monday afternoon. Powell said he had to make two stops because his son was too upset to get out of the car the first time.

Rescue personnel tow the tail section of a plane back to shore Saturday after it was recovered from the Ridgway Reservoir, which is 25 miles south of Montrose. Enlargephoto

Patrick Moore/Ouray County Plaindealer

Rescue personnel tow the tail section of a plane back to shore Saturday after it was recovered from the Ridgway Reservoir, which is 25 miles south of Montrose.