A tour plane spun out of control and crashed Saturday while trying to make an emergency landing, killing all eight people aboard, including four Japanese tourists.
The twin-engine Cessna 421, owned by Adventure Airlines, crashed about a mile from an airfield near Mesquite, where the pilot was diverted because of engine problems he reported shortly after takeoff.
Four airline employees were killed along with the tourists, said Mohave County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Tom Sheahan.
The plane took off from the North Las Vegas airport at 7:26 a.m. for West Yellowstone, Mont., said Hank Verbais, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration.
The plane crashed at 8:40 a.m. in hilly, sandy terrain near this town about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas, near the Arizona state line.
Mesquite Police Chief P. Michael Murphy said two witnesses reported that “the plane was spinning out of control, and they could not hear any engines running.”
Murphy said the plane was intact and he was able to walk around inside the craft.
Investigators from the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board were en route to the scene.
A woman who answered the phone at Las Vegas-based Adventure Airlines would not comment.
The crash was not the first for the company.
An Adventure Airlines twin-engine Cessna 402 crashed in June 1992 in Meadview, Ariz., while returning from a canyon sightseeing flight, killing all 10 aboard. The crash was blamed on engine problems.
Aerial tours from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon and other Western points have become increasingly popular, particularly among Asian visitors, with hundreds of thousands of people taking the excursions annually.