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Aircraft found north of Edwards confirmed to be missing Harris plane; two fatalities reported

December 16, 2010 – 11 a.m. – The wreckage of a small aircraft that was spotted by a National Guard helicopter this morning (12/16) has been confirmed as the plane that lost radar contact yesterday afternoon while on approach to Eagle County Regional Airport (EGE). Eagle County Coroner Kara Bettis has confirmed two people were onboard the aircraft; both were killed in the crash.

The plane is a Beech 60 Duke twin engine, registered to Barton Harris of Brownwood, Texas. The identity of the pilot and the passenger are still unconfirmed. According to Bettis, identification of the victims will have to be completed through fingerprint matching or dental records.

The aircraft lost radar contact at about 4:30 p.m. Dec. 15. Emergency responders worked through the night searching an area surrounding the last place a signal was received. Rescue crews arrived at the site of the crash, about 3.5 miles north of Edwards, at approximately 10:20 a.m. this morning. The site is in steep terrain at an elevation of about 10,800 feet.

Operations will continue today with crews focusing on recovery of the victims’ remains. An investigation will be conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board. Agencies assisting is yesterday’s and today’s effort include Eagle County Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting, Eagle County Ambulance District, Eagle County Coroner’s Office, Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, Eagle River Fire Protection District, Garfield Search and Rescue, Greater Eagle Fire Protection District, Salvation Army – Emergency Cantina, Summit County Search and Rescue, Vail Mountain Rescue, Vail Police Department and Western Eagle County Search and Rescue.