Crashed plane, body found on Goldwater range
A Yuma Sector Border Patrol agent who was on routine patrol found the wreckage of a small plane Wednesday morning on the Barry M. Goldwater Bombing Range. One person was found dead inside.
Agents Spencer Tippets, of the Yuma Sector Public Affairs Office, said the agent located the scene at approximately 8:42 a.m. on the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge.
“The U.S. Border Patrol notified the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office,” Tippets said.
According to Capt. Eben Bratcher, of the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office, his office received the report of a downed aircraft on the range just west of the Mohawk Mountains, approximately 10 to 15 miles south of Interstate 8.
“It had been out there for at least 24 hours, maybe even longer. It could have been there for several days,” Bratcher said. “We don’t know what the pilot was doing over the range. I think it is restricted air space, and it’s something we will be looking into.”
Bratcher said the initial information is the plane was a civilian single-engine passenger plane, not a military aircraft.
The National Transportation Safety Board is on its way from Tucson and will be investigating the crash. The identity of the occupant is being withheld pending next of kin notification.
Capt. Staci Reidinger, director of public affairs at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, said the plane was located on the southeastern section of the range.
She added because the area is a protected refuge, it is restricted airspace and the air station does not conduct any training exercises in the area.
James Gilbert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6854. Find him on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/YSJamesGilbert or on Twitter @YSJamesGilbert.