A family of four has been identified as the victims of a plane crash in the rugged Arizona wilderness this week, officials revealed Tuesday.
Scottsdale attorney Eric Falbe, 14-year-old daughter Victoria, 12-year-old daughter Skylar, and his wife Carrie were found dead in the wreckage of the single-engine Cessna 210.
The Gila County Sheriff’s Office first received a call from Scottsdale PD Monday from a concerned family member regarding on overdue plane that had departed Scottsdale en route to Telluride, Colorado, and had never made it.
It was reported that four people were on board. A cell phone was pinged and Gila County deputies working with the Arizona Department of Public Safety Ranger Helicopter and the Air Force Civil Air Patrol located the downed aircraft in the mountains north of Payson.
It took nearly an hour for rescuers to hike to the crash site once it was spotted, officials told The AP.
Once the aircraft was reached, three victims were found dead before deputies were eventually able to locate the fourth.
"The terrain up there is just really super rugged," Gila County Sheriff Adam Shepherd said. "It's pretty rough, steep, straight up and down."
The 44-year-old father, his wife and daughters from a previous marriage were making their annual trip to Telluride when tragedy struck for reasons that are not yet clear.
Victoria and Skylar attended Cicero Preparatory Academy in Scottsdale.
"Our sincerest condolences go out to the Falbe family for their tragic loss," school officials said in a statement. "Grief counselors will be available when school returns Monday."
In a statement, Falbe's law partner Michael Maledon remembered his colleague as "the best kind of lawyer."
"For those that worked with Eric, he will be remembered as a truly exceptional businessman and lawyer," Maledon said. "He was the best kind of lawyer; highly capable and exceptionally practical. But beyond Eric’s professional accomplishments, Eric and Carrie will be remembered for their passion for life and warmth toward others. We mourn their loss and extend our deepest sympathies to their families."