Authorities: 3 dead in midair plane crash in Wyo. - East Valley Tribune: Nation / World

Authorities: 3 dead in midair plane crash in Wyo.

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Posted: Monday, August 11, 2008 12:34 am | Updated: 10:24 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

ROCK SPRINGS, Wyo. - Two single-engine planes collided Sunday above a remote area a few miles from an airport in southwestern Wyoming, killing all three people aboard, authorities said.

Local officials received 911 calls of an "explosion in the sky" shortly after noon, said Detective Dick Blust, a spokesman for the Sweetwater County Sheriff's Department.

Scorched debris was scattered over 5 acres northwest of the airport.

One of the planes was a Cirrus SR22 that took off from Polson, Mont., with two people aboard, said Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration.

The plane was headed to the Rock Springs airport and had been communicating with regional air traffic controllers, who cleared it for approach to the airport.

The airport does not have a control tower, according to its Web site.

The other plane was a Cessna 172 with only the pilot aboard, he said. It was not communicating with controllers, a common practice among private pilots flying in clear weather, Gregor said.

Preliminary information showed the Cessna pilot was a student and had been practicing in the Rock Springs area at the time of the crash, he said.

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