NTSB: Pilot error caused plane crash that killed two

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email
Pilots were searching for evidence of illegally-growing marijuana.

Airplane nose

PUEBLO, Colo. (AP) -- Investigators say pilot error led to a plane crash that killed two Pueblo County lawmen who were searching the southern Colorado mountains for evidence of an illegal marijuana grow.

The National Transportation Safety Board says "the pilot selected a route of flight toward rising terrain that the airplane could not climb sufficiently quickly to avoid."

Authorities say 43-year-old Leide DeFusco and 63-year-old John Barger, who was the pilot, died when their plane crashed in the San Isabel National Forest on Aug. 31.

DeFusco was a captain with the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office and the police department before that. The two served together on the police department's SWAT team.

DeFusco's sister, Mianna Sorensen, tells the Pueblo Chieftain, "It's so unfortunate that two wonderful men were lost while fighting the war on drugs."

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