A private jet burst into flames, leaving one person dead and two others injured. The twin-engine Canadair CL-600-2B16 Challenger deviated from the side of the runway while carrying three people when it crashed in Aspen Colorado, Sunday afternoon.
"It was almost as if a fuse was lit and it went that quickly down the runway and the heat and the smoke were pretty devastating," said eyewitness Bruce Gordon.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said the plane crashed while attempting to land. The fatal landing was the plane's second attempt at landing that day.
The man who died in the accident was identified as Mexican co-pilot Sergio Carranza Brabata. The other two men injured were Moises Carranza and Miguel Henriquez both of whom were rushed to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction for treatment. According to hospital officials, the two injured men are in critical and serious condition, respectively.
"The injuries were traumatic in nature, but they were not thermal so the fire never reached inside the cabin as far as we can tell," said Alex Burchetta, Director of Operations for the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office.
The aircraft left Toluca, Mexico on Sunday before landing in Tucson. Afterward, it left Tucson for Aspen but crashed at 12:23 p.m., according to the Aviation Safety Network. Audio from the network indicates that the plane had been cleared to land at about 12:10 but missed its line.
The crash is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board who arrived at the scene at around 9:30 p.m. Reports from the local sheriff’s office indicate that the airport will remain closed but no specific timelines were given, saying that the NTSB will have to approve the re-opening of the airport.
Weather measurement showed that Aspen experienced temperatures of about 10 degrees with strong winds that day. The gusty winds are said to be responsible for the aircraft’s aborted first landing attempt and subsequent crash. Transcripts from the cockpit audio recording showed that no mayday was issued by the pilots despite the concerns over the winds.
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