Victims killed in plane crash near Route 66 Casino identified

Two people who were killed in a small plane crashed near Route 66 Casino, west of Albuquerque have been identified.

Pilot Michael Vavrek, 68 and Judy Vavrek, 67, were pronounced dead on scene by the Office of the Medical Investigator.

New Mexico State Police, Albuquerque Fire Rescue, Albuquerque Police and the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene Tuesday afternoon around 4:30.

The plane, a Cessna 182, crashed on the Navajo Nation land near the Canoncito Reservation, off Rio Puerco Road and Trail/Route 57.

While the FAA is still trying to determine the exact cause of the crash, the agency says preliminary reports show the pilot reported icing and loss of engine power shortly before crashing. The FAA says the plane was trying to land at the Double Eagle Airport, but crashed roughly 10 to 12 miles west of the airport.

From the view of SkyNews 13, the damage to the plane indicates a hard landing. Both of the plane’s wings were broken in multiple places, the plane’s metal prop was missing and much of the fuselage appeared twisted. 

Based on the way the plane crashed, it’s unclear exactly what the plane’s tail number is. The FAA has yet to release information about the plane’s tail number, either.

It’s unclear if any witnesses saw the crash. Only a few homes are around the barren desert land where the plane crashed.

NTSB and FAA investigators are scheduled to be at the scene of the crash Wednesday.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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