Aspen travelers, including Kevin Nealon and LeAnn Rimes, saw the horrific sight of a private jet crash-landing, killing one person aboard, at the airport on Sunday afternoon. The pilot was killed and the other two people aboard were injured.
After the crash, the smoldering jet, thought to be a Bombardier Challenger 600, sat on the tarmac upside-down. Only one wing was left. Although the aircraft seats 22, firefighters who rushed to the plane found only three people on board. All three are reported to be pilots.
The doomed flight had flown from Toluca, Mexico. Flight records show that it stopped in Tucson two hours before the crash occurred at the Aspen airport, which is located northwest of Aspen by about four miles and southwest of Denver by 100 miles.
According to the director of operations for the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, the sole person killed in the private jet crash at the Aspen airport has been identified as the copilot, Sergio Carranza Brabata. Brabata, from Mexico, was 54 years old. The two injured pilots are at the Aspen Valley Hospital where they are receiving treatment related to the impact. The pilots are described as having serious to moderate injuries.
There is no clear reason at this point as to why the plane crashed. At the time of the crash, the website of the National Weather Service had posted that Aspen was in an area warned to be on the lookout for “hazardous weather,” with wind speeds higher than 20 mph expected.
Because of its location in the mountains, the Aspen airport is said to be more difficult from which to maneuver in and out for pilots.
According to Peter Knudson, NTSB spokesman, investigators are headed to Aspen.
Nealon tweeted after the accident that emergency crews were on site within three minutes and that the jet had “exploded into flames upon landing.”
An airport official has announced that the Aspen airport is closed indefinitely to facilitate the investigation into the private jet crash that killed one person. Due to its popularity as a celebrity ski destination and the remoteness of its location, the closure of the airport will certainly cause travel delays for everyone attempting to leave Aspen.
By Jennifer Pfalz