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Bodies recovered from December crash scene

Posted: Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

Canadians Dr. Sheila Malm and her husband Gerrit "Gerry" Maureau were the victims of a Dember 2008 plane crash in Costilla County. Their remains have been recovered from the scene of the crash.
Two Canadians brought down from Vermejo Peak

SAN LUIS-The bodies of two Canadians killed in a December 2008 plane crash have been recovered from the 12,200-foot mark of Costilla County's Vermejo Peak.

According to Costilla County Sheriff's Sgt. James Chavez, a 15-member team of sheriff's deputies and search and rescue personnel from Costilla and Las Animas Counties set off Friday, May 8, at 6 a.m. in an effort to recover the bodies of Gerrit "Gerry" Maureau, 67, and his wife Dr. Sheila Malm, 65, both of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

The two Canadians and their twin-engine Beechcraft Baron aircraft disappeared on Dec. 20, during a flight from Calgary en route to Santa Fe. The flight was lost from radar screens at approximately 7:50 p.m. after leaving Pueblo, Colo. following a re-fueling stop.

Costilla County Sheriff Gilbert Martinez and Deputy Andy Espinoza along with Carlos DeLeon and Ronny Lucero, with Costilla Search and Rescue joined 11 Las Animas County sheriff's deputies and search and rescue personnel for the recovery effort. The Las Animas contingent was under the command of Las Animas County Sheriff's Sgt. Nick Mattorano. The group met up at Las Animas County's Ladiger Ranch, near Stonewall, Colo. The ranch, located at an altitude of 10,500 feet, leads to the most accessible route to the crash site.

All four Costilla County members of the recovery party plus Gage Montoya and Leon Plank, of Las Animas County, went from the ranch to the crash site at 12,200 feet in altitude, near the 13,723-foot summit of Vermejo Peak. The recovery party reached the site around 1 p.m.

Chavez said the plane was located with both of the victims inside. The plane and the victims were badly burned, said Chavez. Photos of the site were taken and the bodies brought down the mountain where the Las Animas County Coroner pronounced them dead. The remains were then turned over to Weylen Vigil, Costilla County coroner, who transported the bodies to the El Paso County Coroner's office for autopsy. Chavez said an autopsy would focus on whether alcohol or drugs were involved.

Chavez said the National Transportation Safety Board has been investigating the crash. However, he said lead NTSB investigator Tim LaBaron informed him that further investigation might not take place until later this summer. Chavez said LaBaron told him the NTSB might "long-line the plane out" at that time.

Maureau was prominent in the Canadian oil and gas industry and both he and his wife were leading citizens of Calgary.

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