Plane crash in Sandias kills pilot, couple from Texas

(Marla Brose/Journal)
A United States Air Force helicopter assisted with the search for a missing plane Tuesday morning. (Marla Brose/Journal)

Three people in a small passenger plane en route to Nevada were found dead after the plane they were in crashed near the Sandia Crest Monday afternoon, according to a spokeswoman for the New Mexico State Police.

Sgt. Elizabeth Armijo said State Police found the plane north of Tijeras near the Sandia Crest ski area shortly before noon Tuesday but it was several hours before they were able to verify the three victims were inside. She said their bodies were still being brought off the mountain Tuesday evening.

The plane, a Cessna, was last heard from east-northeast of Albuquerque in near the mountains a little after 1 p.m. Monday, according to Lynn Lunsford, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration.

Family and friends identified the passengers as Sherry and Tim Couch and the pilot as Brian Moore, all from Wichita Falls, Texas. Gary Walker said Moore was his airplane mechanic, and the two were close friends. He traveled to Albuquerque along with Moore’s father when he heard the news.

“He’s been doing my maintenance for four or five years,” Walker said. “He’s a good young man with three small children. He’s almost like a son to me. He really put some effort into working on my airplanes.”

Diane McMillan, Sherry Couch’s cousin, said the couple were on a trip to Las Vegas, Nev., when the crash occurred.

“We don’t know what happened,” she said. “My cousins went there to identify Sherry and her husband.”

Armijo said the plane was found about a mile from the Sulphur Canyon picnic area. Although a helicopter spotted the wreckage around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, the recovery mission was prolonged due to poor weather conditions and steep elevation.

“There was between 6 inches to a foot of snow, it was super windy and cold,” Armijo said. “The area where the plane was found was straight up the side of a hill and covered by dense trees.”

An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration will determine the cause of the crash, she said.

The Cessna is registered to Moore Aviation LLC, Moore’s maintenance shop where he worked on big and small planes, Walker said.

“It’s just like anytime you lose a good friend, you just have that hole in your heart,” Walker said. “Especially for a young man like that with a family.”

-Digital Editor Robert Browman contributed to this report.

Share Your Story

Nativo Sponsored Content

Ad Tango


taboola desktop


Courts announce plan to tighten pretrial GPS monitoring
ABQnews Seeker
The courts announced plans Monday for ... The courts announced plans Monday for a 24/7 alert system to notify law enforcement if someone wearing an electronic monitoring device violates conditions of ...
20 tribal nations file NM redistricting proposal
ABQnews Seeker
New Mexico's 19 pueblos and the ... New Mexico's 19 pueblos and the Jicarilla Apache Nation have filed redistricting plans they say would protect the voting strength of Native American communities ...
New Mexico lawmakers sue Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham over ...
ABQnews Seeker
Two New Mexico lawmakers, a Democrat ... Two New Mexico lawmakers, a Democrat and a Republican, are asking the state Supreme Court to block Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham from allocating any ...
COVID-19 hospitalizations fall 3% over last week
ABQnews Seeker
Hospitalizations for COVID-19 in New Mexico ... Hospitalizations for COVID-19 in New Mexico have fallen about 3% over the last week, hitting their lowest total since mid-August. An epidemiological report released ...
Stapleton facing 26 felony charges
ABQnews Seeker
Racketeering, money laundering among charges Racketeering, money laundering among charges
'Warrior Spirit' follows fighter's journey to cut weight
ABQnews Seeker
Nicco Montano made history when she ... Nicco Montano made history when she became the first female Native American champion in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Montano is the focus of the ...
Two lawmakers challenge governor's federal aid spending in lawsuit
ABQnews Seeker
Two state lawmakers — one Democrat ... Two state lawmakers — one Democrat and one Republican — have filed a petition with New Mexico's Supreme Court challenging Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's ...
NHCC Foundation receives $50K grant for film programming
ABQnews Seeker
The National Hispanic Cultural Center Foundation ... The National Hispanic Cultural Center Foundation received a $50,000 grant to help grow film programming at the center. The grant was given Bank of ...
The Executive's Desk: Boost employee retention with this no-cost ...
ABQnews Seeker
While hiring new employees can pose ... While hiring new employees can pose a challenge in today's job market, retaining high-quality employ ...