U.S. News


Pilot Reported Wind Problems Prior To Fatal Aspen Crash

One man is dead and two others are injured following a plane crash at an Aspen, Colo. airport.
Posted at 11:23 PM, Jan 05, 2014

More details are being released about the failed landing at an Aspen, Colorado airport that resulted in a fiery crash, including the identity of the co-pilot who was killed.

The three men on board the private 22-seat plane were reportedly Mexican nationals who were all pilots. They had stopped in Tuscon, Arizona before flying into the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport. (Via KCNC)

"The copilot Sergio Carranza Brabata is 54 years old. He was from Mexico, he was killed. The pilot, the most severely injured of the two survivors." (Via KMGH)

National Transportation Safety Board officials identified the twin-engine plane as a 1994 Canadair Challenger business jet. Video from the scene shows the charred plane resting upside down on the runway. (Via KUSA)

One witness told the Los Angeles Times: “Once it landed, it burst into flames and it did a couple rolls, side rolls, and it kept trucking down the runway. It just was a big fireball.”

While there were no snow showers in the area at the time of the crash, the pilot was overheard reporting high winds on an air traffic radio transmission. The plane crashed minutes later at 12:22 p.m.

Pilot: "Ok 'til we turn back and try another approach... We have a tail wind of 30 knots..." 

Jeff Pegues: "And then... word from the tower."

Air Traffic Controller: "Striker proceed to the downed aircraft." (Via CBS)

The airport sits in the Rocky Mountains near several high class ski resorts about 100 miles southwest of Denver. Back in 2001 a private jet crashed at the airport killing all 18 people onboard.

"On a good day Aspen is tricky. I’ve been in there and with the tailwind you have to plant that plane right at the threshold of the runway… Aspen particularly in really bad weather is really unforgiving. ” (Via CNN)

Officials shut down the airport in order to clear the wreckage. All of Sunday’s scheduled arrivals and departures were canceled. (ViaABC)

Some airlines offered to take passengers out of town with alternative travel arrangements. NTSB investigators are still looking into what might have caused the crash.