Eric Falbe and family identified as victims in Arizona plane crash
Searchers in Arizona found the bodies of four members of a family in the wreckage of a small plane that crashed on a flight from Scottsdale to Telluride, Colorado, officials said.
The sheriff’s office verified the plane’s tail number matched Federal Aviation Administration records identifying the owner as Eric Falbe of Scottsdale.
Eric, 44, his wife Carrie and his two girls: 14-year-old Victoria and 12-year-old Skylar, were all killed when the Cessna 210 crashed. The debris was found north of Payson on the rugged Mogollon Rim, Gila County Sheriff Adam Shepherd said.
The cause of the crash wasn’t immediately known, authorities said.
Falbe was a lawyer who specialized in real estate mediation.
“Our sincerest condolences go out to the Falbe family for their tragic loss,” school officials from the Cicero Preparatory Academy in Scottsdale said in a statement. “Grief counselors will be available when school returns Monday.”
The sheriff’s office was notified about the missing plane by Scottsdale police.
According to the police report, a man told authorities his 31-year-old daughter, son-in-law and two girls didn’t check in after planning to fly to Telluride.
The four were on a yearly trip they always take around the Christmas holidays, according to relatives.
Police started a search for the family’s cellphone signal, and one was detected near Payson.
A state police helicopter, the Civil Air Patrol and sheriff’s searchers on the ground worked together to find the plane.
Rescuers had to hike nearly an hour to the site, Shepherd said.
“The terrain up there is just really super rugged,” he said. “It’s pretty rough, steep, straight up and down.”
“For those that worked with Eric, he will be remembered as a truly exceptional businessman and lawyer,” Falbe’s law partner, Michael Maledon said in an email to AZ Central. “He was the best kind of lawyer; highly capable and exceptionally practical. But beyond Eric’s professional accomplishments, Eric and Carrie will be remembered for their passion for life and warmth toward others. We mourn their loss and extend our deepest sympathies to their families.”
“I knew his tail number and I knew where he was heading, and I knew it must have been Eric,” he said, recounting the shocking call from investigators.
The plane crashed under unknown circumstances, according to Ian Gregor, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman.
A review of radar information later showed that the plane ascended in Scottsdale and then descended quickly in the Payson area near where the phone was pinged, police reported.
Gregor said it didn’t appear that Falbe had submitted a flight plan to the FAA before taking off.