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Updated Jul 1, 2008 - 9:56 am

Five members of Gilbert family killed in N.M. plane crash

SANTA ROSA, N.M. -- Federal investigators have begun their investigation into the crash of a single-engine airplane in New Mexico, which killed five members of a Gilbert family.

The Cessna 206 took off about 1 p.m. Sunday from the Route 66 Airport at Santa Rosa, N.M., and crashed almost immediately, said Roland Herwig, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman.

Killed were Ules Pitts Jr., 42; his wife, Marian Pitts, 41; and their children, Jessica Pitts, 18; Jennifer Pitts, 16; and Jeremy Pitts, 13.

Pitts' father, Ules Pitts Sr., said the five were traveling to Chicago to visit family when the crash happened Sunday.

Herwig said the pilot did not contact air traffic control before the crash.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board offices in Arlington, Texas, and Denver were sent to the scene Monday.

Santa Rosa police Sgt. Lorenzo Mata told Albuquerque station KOB-TV that when he arrived at the scene, the aircraft was engulfed in flames. Mata said he grabbed a fire extinguisher, but the fire was too intense.

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