crash kills pilot

A small-engine plane headed to Aspen from California crashed in a rugged rural-residential neighborhood near Cedaredge Tuesday evening, killing the pilot, who was the only occupant of the plane.

Numerous 911 calls came in to Delta County dispatchers at 6:11 p.m., according to Sheriff Fred McKee, prompting emergency responders to rush to a private address on Surface Creek Road.

The airplane involved was a Cessna 210, and crashed under “unknown circumstances,” according to Allen Kenitzer, a spokesman with the Federal Aviation Administration. Both the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating, with the NTSB acting as the lead investigative agency, Kenitzer said.

The plane crashed on private property in a neighborhood along Surface Creek Road, and narrowly missed the home on the property where the plane went down, according to witnesses.

A neighbor who lives a quarter-mile from the crash site, Betsy Krager, said she heard a loud, unusual sound “and then just quiet.” She and her husband, along with some other neighbors, rushed to the scene within five minutes. “We couldn’t get close, because the fireball was just too hot, and it was still exploding,” Krager said.

She described her neighbor, into whose yard the plane crashed, as “a little shaken up, because it was within 100 feet of their house.”

The flight path — from California to Aspen — was confirmed by FAA spokesman Kenitzer. He said that an ELT, or Emergency Locator Transmitter, signal was received near the Flat Tops Wilderness Area, north of the crash site.

The registration number of the plane was not available Tuesday night, and neither the FAA nor the NTSB releases crash victims’ identities.

In most cases, the NTSB will file a basic preliminary report within a week or two of an accident.

However, it typically takes NTSB months to determine a probable cause for most accidents.


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