The wreckage of a small plane with three people on board found northeast of the Valley Saturday is the same plane reported missing last week, according to officials.
Search and rescue teams have been searching for the plane since it was reported missing Thursday after it took off from Falcon Field in Mesa and never returned.
The airplane was on a routine training flight and left Falcon Field Airport shortly after 2 p.m. Sept. 13, according to Vice President of CAE Oxford Aviation Academy Nathalie Bourque. She said the flight was scheduled to fly to Winslow and then head south to Payson before returning to Mesa.
The wreckage was spotted by a Department of Public Safety helicopter crew about 8:30 a.m. Saturday, according to Civil Air Patrol incident commander Paul Rehman.
The single-engine Piper operated by CAE Oxford Aviation Academy had three people on board, who all died in the crash according to Bourque.
The Arizona Division of Emergency Management said the victims were flight instructor Taylor Bennell, 25, who lived in Tempe, 19-year-old student pilot Lucas Westenberg from the Netherelands and 68-year-old Rob Van Den Heuvel also from the Netherlands, a KLM flight instructor.
A Gila County sheriff's search and rescue team headed to the site Saturday.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said the plane apparently crashed into a cliff wall and that rescuers had to repel down in order to get close to the crash site.
The cause of the crash is under investigation.
Copyright 2012CBS 5 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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