Three Children Among Six Dead in Thanksgiving Eve Arizona Plane Crash

Thanksgiving turned tragic for several Arizona families after a plane went down.

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REUTERS / Joshua Lott

A Maricopa Sheriff helicopter recovers a body from the Superstition Mountains where rescue workers searched for victims of a plane crash November 24, 2011.

Thanksgiving turned tragic for several Arizona families after a plane carrying a father, his three young kids and two friends slammed into rugged mountains east of Phoenix Wednesday evening, killing all six people.

CNN reports the twin-engine Rockwell 690A jet crashed in a ball of fire near the top of the Superstition Mountains. Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu said wreckage was strewn for hundreds of yards beneath a cliff the plane struck in the remote area.

“No one could survive that crash,” Babeu told CNN. “All of these families are just obviously heartbroken, traumatized over the loss of their loved ones so suddenly here on Thanksgiving.”

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More than 50 deputies and volunteers had the grim task of collecting and preserving remains of the victims, who were reportedly all Arizona residents. The aircraft began its journey in Safford and then picked up the siblings, aged nine, eight and six, in Mesa.

A witness told CNN the horrific crash illuminated the evening sky. “The flames lit up the mountain,” said Kevin Cunningham, 44, who was talking on the phone on his back porch and saw the crash a few miles away. He added that the plane appeared to be flying level before the crash. “I didn’t see where it was in distress,” said Cunningham.

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