Friends and family of a Monument man fear the worst after his downed plane was found in Southeast Colorado, Saturday morning. Crews have yet to identify the pilot, but the Piper Seneca's tail number showed the plane was registered to 49-year-old Russell Mayer of Monument. Mayer's girlfriend Rebecca Baker says Mayer had been on his way to Tyler, Texas to see her.
"We were going to go to Houston to spend the weekend with my daughter," said Baker. " We were going to go to church there."
But Mayer never made it. The FAA says the Piper fell off the radar just before 7:00 AM Friday morning. The Civil Air Patrol spotted it 24 hours later. To reach the wreckage, Otero County officials had to contend with waist-deep snow using snowmobiles and snowcats. Baker says Mayer had more than 500 hours in the air. Joe Camacho, Mayer's business partner at JPE Inc., says flying was just one of Mayer's many passions.
"He spent time with his family and gave his all to the company," said Camacho. "He had lots of friends."
Baker says she is devastated by the crash, but is finding peace because of Mayer's faith.
"Russ honored God and that's what he would want people to know about him."
Otero County officials will return to the crash scene Sunday morning. The FAA is investigating.