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Small airplane crash east of Raton kills pilot and wildlife specialist

New Mexico State Police and Raton Fire and Emergency Services were called to a small airplane crash at about 6:48 am Friday, approximately 4.4 miles south of US Hwy 64/87, and about 17 miles east of Raton. State police have turned the investigation over to the National Transpotation Safety Board. NTSB said on their web page they were investigating the crash of a Cubsetter CC-18 aircraft operated by the USDA. The USDA has been doing work to curb damage by wildlife in Colfax County. Roland Herwig a spokesman for the FAA did confrim two fatalities in the accident and that the FAA is assiting the NTSB in the investigation. The USDA reported that Kelly Hobbs (54), a pilot with the Wildlife Services program, and Shannon “Bubba” Tunnell a state wildlife specialist with the New Mexico Department of Agriculture were the only two aboard the single-engine plane when it went down. Hobbs started with the federal program in 1992 as a pilot and had logged more than 13,500 hours of flight time with work in New Mexico, Colorado and Utah. Tunnell has been

a specialist with the state since 2009 with extensive training in aerial predator management. The cause of the accident is still under investigation by the NTSB.

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