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2 dead after Payson-bound plane crashes in Superstition Mountains

Federal authorities are trying to determine why a small plane crashed into a mountain in central Arizona, killing both people aboard.

The single-engine aircraft took off from Falcon Field Airport in Mesa and went down around 8 a.m. Saturday in the Superstition Mountains area east of Apache Junction, about 50 miles east of downtown Phoenix.

The National Transportation Safety Board said the plane was operating as part of a flight of three airplanes. It was reportedly headed to Payson and crashed in steep, rocky terrain.

Pinal County Sheriff’s officials say they were still working to positively identify the two people killed in the crash. NTSB says investigators would be documenting the crash site and collecting any flight track or radar data that may be available.

A preliminary report is expected in two to three weeks.