The airplane impacted terrain at about 1230 Mountain time. The private pilot and two passengers were seriously injured; one passenger was fatally injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage during the accident sequence and post-impact fire. Visual conditions prevailed.
The pilot later stated he was flying in a valley when he observed rising terrain ahead. He attempted to climb over the ridge, but the airplane wouldn’t climb. He had turned the airplane toward the valley when it struck trees and descended to the ground.