SANTA TERESA, N.M. - A New Mexico State Police spokesman has identified two men killed when the small propeller airplane they were riding in crashed northwest of the Santa Teresa airport.
Michael Perry of Avondale, Ariz., and Jim Crosby, whose hometown was unknown, were killed Saturday when their Raytheon A36 crashed during a thunderstorm, state police spokesman Peter Olson said Sunday.
Olson said he did not know the men's ages nor who was flying the plane.
New Mexico State Police Officer Joe Ballesteros said the plane was registered to ST Inc. in Peoria, Ariz.
Nearby hikers saw the four-seat aircraft take off around 6 p.m. from the airport and fly into a thunderstorm before crashing and bursting into flames, state police officers said.
"The bodies were unrecognizable due to the fire," Ballesteros said.
He said one or both of the victims had tried to climb out of the burning wreckage, but were unable to escape.
The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration were expected to begin their investigation Sunday, Olson said.