Debris affirms crash theory |

Debris affirms crash theory

Search continues for aircraft, men

Gary Salazar

A wheel fender and a T-shirt found in a remote lake in the White River National Forest has been identified as belonging to a missing airplane and one of the four men that was on board.

The Rio Blanco Sheriff’s Office confirmed Thursday a fender found in the upper Marvine Lake belongs to a Piper Cherokee PA-28 that was carrying four Reno, Nev., men May 29, said Allen Kenitzer, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman.

The sheriff’s office in Meeker also confirmed a T-shirt found in the lake belonged to one of the four men on board, which included pilot Richard “Dan” Filippe, Ross Jones and brothers Jon and Mark Peters.

“A family member confirmed the T-shirt belonged to one of the men on board,” Kenitzer said.

Authorities continue to search the lake for the aircraft and the men, who were traveling from their hometown to Denver for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals.

The plane was last seen refueling at the airport in Meeker. The lake is located 30 miles east of Meeker in the Flat Tops Wilderness Area.

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Thursday’s development confirmed what authorities believed since a fisherman found debris in the upper lake Monday evening the plane went down in the body of water.

On Thursday, Rio Blanco deputies searched the eastern portion of the lake for the aircraft and the men.

Deputies are lowering an underwater camera from a boat to search about 20 acres of the lake, which spans a total of 80 acres.

Also assisting in Thursday’s effort was a high-elevation dive team from Summit County to search the murky, mossy water.

The search for the aircraft and the men is a joint effort between the Rio Blanco Sheriff’s Office, the National Transportation Safety Board, U.S. Forest Service, Army National Guard and the FAA. (Gary Salazar is a reporter with the Steamboat Springs Pilot/Today.)

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