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Report doesn’t include cause of deadly small plane crash in Arizona

A Piper P28A (Wikipedia Commons Photo)

PAYSON, Ariz. – A preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board doesn’t list a possible cause for a small plane crash near Payson that killed one person aboard and injured two others last month.

The report released Thursday says the pilot told NTSB investigators he decided to fly over the Mazatzal Mountain Range on the return flight to Mesa’s Falcon Field Airport on the morning of Jan. 24.

The pilot flew about 1,000 feet above ground level over the mountains while the passengers were spotting wildlife on the terrain below.

The pilot said the single-engine Piper was running well and he doesn’t remember anything else until waking up in a small creek at the accident site about 10 miles southwest of Payson.

One passenger, 59-year-old Blaine Matthews of Mesa, was killed. Gila County authorities said another passenger were seriously injured.

One of the two survivors managed to call 911 for help.

The NTSB report said the plane hit steep brush-covered terrain and its cabin and fuselage burned.

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