A child’s body has been recovered and three adults and two other children are feared dead after their small plane crashed into the Superstition Mountains near Phoenix, Arizona on Wednesday night, authorities said.
There were no immediate signs of survivors on the plane, which had refuelled shortly before it crashed in a the remote area known as ‘Flat Iron’, officials said.
The impact caused a huge fireball and local officials said rescue workers were having difficulty reaching the crash scene because of the ruggedness of the terrain.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said the plane had made the 150 mile trip from Safford to Mesa (Arizona) to pick up three children and was returning to Safford when it came down about 40 miles east of downtown Phoenix.
The crash is believed to have involved a Rockwell AC-69 twin-engine plane.
Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu told reporters that a pilot, mechanic and another adult were also on board.
When asked if there could have been any survivors, he added: “it does not look promising.”
Video footage of the crash taken by a security camera at the foot of the mountains was posted on YouTube.
It shows a fireball erupting in the dark of night as the crash happened.
Officials said investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board would be sent in to begin the search for clues as to what could have caused the crash.