Utah Couple Killed in Arizona Plane Crash

Utah Couple Killed in Arizona Plane Crash


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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- Police have identified the victims killed in a small plane crash near Scottsdale as a couple from Alta, Utah.

Investigators have tentatively identified the victims as Duane Shrontz, 57 and his wife, 55-year-old Joanne Shrontz, police spokesman Scott Reed said Monday.

Joanne Shrontz, who went by Jody, was a member of the Alta Town Council for more than eight years.

"It is a terrible thing," Alta Mayor Bill Levitt said Monday night. "We are totally devastated by the whole thing. I expected her back for a meeting this coming week."

The couple had landed at Scottsdale Airport Sunday evening, after having taken off from San Diego earlier that day, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. After spending an hour at the Scottsdale airport, the couple took off for Santa Fe, N.M., when the plane crashed into a McDowell Mountains peak, Reed said.

Fire crews worked much of the day Monday to recover the bodies of the two victims.

Reed said the terrain at the crash site was so steep that Rural/Metro Fire Department crews had to rappel to the site to recover the bodies.

The plane, a Piper PA60 Aerostar, crashed into the southwest side of Thompson Peak on Sunday night, bursting into flames and sparking several small brush fires. The fires were quickly extinguished.

Duane Shrontz was once a ski instructor for Alta, Levitt said. He also wrote "Alta, Utah: A People's Story," a look at the personalities that founded the ski area.

Joanne Shrontz is the granddaughter of Joe Quinney, one of the founders of the Alta ski area and the namesake for the University of Utah College of Law. She was an active member of the five-person council and an ardent supporter of the arts.

The Shrontzes are survived by three children, Ellen, Erik and Mathieu, all grown.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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