The pilot found dead in the wreckage of a small airplane in the Pecos Wilderness last month after it left Santa Fe Regional Airport was identified Tuesday by state police as 29-year-old Nicholas Peterson of Littleton, Colo.

A passenger also found dead at the scene near Hamilton Mesa northeast of Cowles has not yet been identified, police said.

Search crews located the single-engine, four-seat aircraft aircraft Sept. 29 after a three-day search. The plane went missing after stopping to refuel in Santa Fe the night of Sept. 26.

The Grumman AA 5-A took off from Santa Fe at 5:49 p.m. Sept. 26 and air traffic controllers lost contact with it at 6:01 p.m. The aircraft’s emergency beacon last pinged a mile south of Terrero.



The Civil Air Patrol, New Mexico National Guard and New Mexico State Police search and rescue crews participated in the effort to locate the plane.

State police search and rescue resource officer Bob Rodgers said that around 9 a.m. Sept. 29 ground crews reached the site in mountainous terrain with heavy tree growth at an elevation between 9,000 and 10,000 feet.

Peterson was a 2014 graduate of the University of Wyoming, where he received a bachelor’s degree in history, according to the school’s alumni association.

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