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Bodies of five killed in plane crash found in Colorado reservoir

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[March 25, 2014]  DENVER (Reuters)  Divers have found the bodies of five people in a small plane that plunged into a reservoir in southwestern Colorado, but their remains will not be recovered until specialized salvage crews arrive, authorities said on Monday.

The single-engine Socata TBM700 crashed on Saturday into the Ridgway Reservoir about 25 miles south of Montrose, Colorado.

"Rescue operation divers have been successful in locating all five victims inside the wreckage of the plane," Ouray County spokeswoman Marti Whitmore said in a statement.

Whitmore said the plane is upside down and submerged under at least 50 feet of water amid deep silt.

"Due to the extensive damage and orientation of the wrecked plane, divers cannot safely recover any of the victims until the wreckage can be brought to shore," she said.

Divers found the fuselage on Sunday and reported it was intact with the wings still attached, Whitmore said, and on Monday divers with a remote camera confirmed the victims are inside the aircraft.

The plane was registered to an Alabama corporation and was en route to Montrose after a refueling stop in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, authorities said.

Colorado authorities have not identified the victims, but news outlets in Alabama reported the victims include an Alabama businessman, a woman, her two young sons and a third boy.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the crash.

(Reporting by Keith Coffman in Denver; editing by Alex Dobuzinskis and Lisa Shumaker)

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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