Sheriffs: 4 believed to be dead after ATV goes off 400-foot cliff near Payson

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PAYSON, Ariz. (KSAZ/AP) - Authorities say four people are believed to be dead after an all-terrain vehicle drove off a 400-foot high cliff, sparking a 10-acre fire near Payson.

According to the Coconino County Sheriff's Office, four people were riding ATV's on Saturday and never returned home. Investigators believe the ATV fell off a steep cliff near Forest Service Road 300, at milepost 10.

Sheriff’s office spokesman Jon Paxton said Monday that investigators don’t know why the vehicle veered off the road.

Crews have not yet made it to the scene because the fire has made recovery efforts too dangerous.

Forest Service Road 300 remains closed in both directions between mileposts 8 and 11.

Authorities are treating the scene as a recovery operation. Paxton says the accident is likely what started the 10-acre (4-hectare) blaze.