2 federal agencies investigate Bookcliffs plane crash

Two federal agencies have joined an investigation into Friday night’s crash in the Bookcliffs involving an airplane owned by a Grand Junction businessman.

The fixed-wing, single engine Piper PA-28 Cherokee that crashed into a ridgeline is owned by Jay Scheevel of Grand Junction, according to Federal Aviation Administration records.

He’s the owner of Scheevel Geo Technologies, a firm specializing in the design of energy industry wells. Scheevel, who was piloting the airplane, declined comment when reached Saturday.

Scheevel and a second, unidentified man walked away with minor injuries after the airplane crashed in approximately 5 feet of snow, close to Garfield County Road 205. The area is near an Encana well pad. The pilot reportedly hiked to the pad for cellphone reception in order to call 911.

Initial 911 reports just after 7 p.m. indicated the occupants were fine “but needed a ride.”

They reportedly hiked down, met rescuers on 16 Road and declined medical attention.

FAA spokesman Allen Kenitzer said the airplane had “substantial” damage. A spokesman for the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office said the agency will take unspecified measures to secure the crash site. The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are leading the investigation.


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