At Least 17 Die in Colo. Plane Crash
STEVEN K. PAULSON
Mar. 30, 2001
ASPEN, Colo. (AP) _ A private airplane crashed into a hillside Thursday at an airport in this ski resort town, killing at least 17 people, authorities said.
Seventeen bodies were recovered after the crash, said Joe DiSalvo, a spokesman for the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office. A flight plan for the Gulfstream III jet listed 18 people aboard, he said.
The chartered plane was flying from Los Angeles International airport, said Allen Kenitzer, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman in Seattle. He said he did not know whether any distress calls were made, or the history of the specific plane.
Wreckage was strewn over about 100 yards: Two passengers were still strapped to their seats when they landed on the highway, and one man was sprawled on a hillside.
Eyewitnesses saw the airplane go down northwest of the Sardy Field airport shortly after 7 p.m.
The airplane just missed landing on a runway, where debris was scattered, said Madeleine Osberger, who was driving near the airport. She said she saw the plane in what appeared to be its final approach before it crashed.
``Maybe two minutes later, I turned the corner and saw flames,'' said Osberger.
The National Weather Service reported light snow and mist in the Aspen area Thursday night.
The plane was registered to Airborne Charter Inc. at Burbank, Calif., said Bruce Nelson, an FAA operations officer in Los Angeles.
In Washington, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, Ted Lopatkiewicz, said Thursday night the agency would investigate.