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Updated Dec 19, 2012 - 6:35 pm

Wreckage of small plane found in northern Arizona

PAYSON, Ariz. -- Authorities say wreckage spotted in a mountainous area in northern Arizona is that of a small plane reported missing on a flight from Show Low to Payson.

A state Department of Public Safety helicopter spotted the wreckage about 10 a.m. Wednesday in the Mazatzal Wildnerness area around the 7,000-foot level.

Gila County Sheriff's officials say pilot David Kappes was found dead in the snow-covered wreckage. His age and hometown wasn't immediately released Wednesday night.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor says the pilot of the twin-engine Piper PA31 radioed air traffic controllers that he was diverting to Phoenix because of bad weather near Payson on Tuesday night.

Controllers lost radio and radar contact with the plane when it was about 50 miles east of Phoenix at about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.

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