Man walks away from plane crash

MONTROSE — The pilot of a single-engine plane walked away from a crash after he tried to land his plane on a residential street near downtown Montrose Wednesday morning.

A 911 caller reported that a small plane, piloted by Montrose resident and physician Douglas Borgo, had crashed and was in the front lawn of the Tabernacle of Life United Pentecostal Church next to the southbound lane of Park Avenue between North Sixth and North Seventh streets.

According to Montrose Police Chief Tom Chinn, Borgo suffered lacerations to his face and was transported to Montrose Memorial Hospital, where he was treated and released.

“I think he did a very good job trying to avoid property damage or hurting anyone, and I think he did an excellent job, and I believe him to be an excellent pilot,” Chin said.

Chinn said the plane was having engine trouble and Borgo must have known he could not make the Montrose Regional Airport runway about half a mile away. Chinn said Borgo, maneuvering his plane to make a landing on North Park Avenue, tried to adjust for a car traveling in the same direction on that street.

That’s when the plane clipped the upper branches of a tree on the corner of North Park and North Sixth street and slammed into the pavement, spinning around and coming to rest in the church’s lawn.

A section of the wing and the plane’s prop were lying in the street when emergency services arrived.

Dozens of onlookers stood by as investigators with the Montrose Police Department took photos and measurements requested by the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Administration, which were sending agents to Montrose a little while after the crash.

The plane, a Navion G single-engine fixed wing aircraft, was manufactured in 1964. According to an FAA Web site, Borgo was shown as the owner since September of 2004.

A Montrose woman, who wished to remain unidentified, said she lives two blocks away from the crash site and that she worries there will be more accidents like this one.

“This is two crashes in only a few years ... scary,” she said.

The woman was referring to a deadly crash in July 2006 involving a plane that crashed into a semi parked near the intersection of South Ninth Street and Park Avenue. Both people on board — David Gibson, 61, and his flight instructor, Larry Smalley, 65, of Rifle — were killed. The cause of the crash was that the plane ran out of fuel.

The cause of this crash is still under investigation.

Montrose Police Department investigators spent hours photographing, mapping the scene and talking with neighbors. Those pictures, measurements and eye-witness accounts will be vital to the NTSB’s investigation.

“I think it’s going to relate to a mechanical issue as far as the plane is considered,” Chinn said.

“There shouldn’t be any gaps (in the investigation) in terms of the timeline of events,” he added.

Borgo’s plane was removed from the scene at around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday and was transported to a hangar at the Montrose Regional Airport. The hangar is operated by Mark Young, a member of the Colorado Civil Air Patrol. From there, it will be stripped down and taken apart to study the inner mechanics of the engine.

According to a pilot at Wednesday’s scene, almost all aircraft landing at Montrose Regional Airport’s Runway 31, which is aligned with Park Avenue, use the street to line up their approach.


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