Newlyweds Costas John Sivyllis, 30, and Lindsey Vogelaar, 33, of Port Orange, Florida, died in a plane crash east of Telluride Monday afternoon. The couple, who married during a small ceremony in the Telluride area Oct. 1, was headed back home after an adventure-filled honeymoon when the plane went down at 11,850 feet in the Ingram Basin area shortly after taking off from Telluride Regional Airport at 12:45 p.m., Sheriff’s Office public information officer Susan Lilly explained.
Sivyllis, who was a United Airlines pilot and instructor, and Vogelaar both worked in the airline industry, and owned the Beechcraft Bonanza airplane that they flew to Telluride. Lilly said weather wasn’t believed to be factor in the wreck.
“It was a pretty clear day,” she said.
It is unknown if the couple were flying directly out of the area or touring the region from above when the plane went down, though the only possible stop between Telluride and home was in Oklahoma to refuel, according to information collected from family after the incident.
"The FAA and NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) have been notified and will investigate the incident," according to the Sheriff's Office.
As of press time Tuesday afternoon, NTSB officials were traveling to the area to investigate the crash, including the cause, this week.
A bystander who observed the wreckage while flying a drone in the area called authorities around 2 p.m. Monday.
“We started a pretty aggressive effort to get on-scene with various personnel and equipment in case there were any survivors,” Lilly said.
Mountain Blade Runner, a Montrose-based helicopter services company, assisted in the efforts, leaving from TEX and heading into the field just before 5 p.m. after a mechanical issue briefly delayed takeoff. San Miguel Search and Rescue, Sheriff’s Office deputies and Telluride Fire Protection District paramedics all responded, as the crash site was reached 15 minutes after leaving TEX.
The mission quickly turned into "body recovery operations," unfortunately, Lilly explained. Black Bear Pass was closed as "high altitude, low level helicopter operations" were being conducted. Drones were prohibited from flying in the Telluride area as well. Efforts were complete by Monday evening.
Sivyllis and Vogelaar shared pictures of their elopement and honeymoon on social media for family and friends, as they enjoyed the area’s outdoor activities like mountain biking.
“They were documenting it all online,” Lilly said.
Lilly expressed condolences on behalf of the Sheriff’s Office and all the responders.
“I can’t say how much our thoughts are with the families and friends of the victims. We’re thinking of all of them,” she said. “It’s a terrible tragedy that two young people in the prime of their lives go on this exciting, adventure-filled and it ends so tragically as they start their lives together.”
In other news, local authorities executed a successful rescue mission Saturday in the Bridal Veil Falls area. For more information, see staff report Bria Light’s story in this edition of the Daily Planet.