Aspen Plane Crash Leaves One Dead & Two Injured

    January 6, 2014
    Lindsay McCane
    Comments are off for this post.

On Sunday, Aspen-Pitkin County Airport shut down after a private jet attempted to land on the runway, but instead flipped over and burst into flames. The crash killed one passenger and injured two others.

According to FAA spokesman Allen Kenitzer, the plane appeared to be a twin-engine Bombardier Challenger 600 that had departed from Tucson, Arizona, at approximately 10:04 a.m. The pilot had previously tried to land, but was unsuccessful. “Missed approach, N115WF. 33 knots of tail wind,” the pilot is heard saying just a few minutes before the crash.

Alex Burchetta, the director of operations at the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, was able to identify the man who died as Sergio Carranza Brabata, the co-pilot of the plane. The other two men were identified as Miguel Henriqez and Moises Carranza.

Several celebrities witnessed the crash including SNL’s Kevin Nealon and country music singer LeAnn Rimes. Both took to their Twitter accounts to express there reactions.

“So sad! Horrible plane crash we just saw happen at the Aspen airport,” Rimes tweeted. She then added a longer tweet saying that she was counting her blessings even more today after witnessing a tragedy.

“We are just getting off the plane in LA. This has been quite a day. Counting our blessings even more so after seeing a tragedy & driving 7 hrs to Denver through tons of snow and traffic. Would have missed our flight if it wasn’t delayed. We are being watched over, that’s for sure. The boys have been fantastic helpers. Eddie is a stud for getting us through a VERY crowded airport with ease. @united your team in Denver was incredibly helpful as I know they were all very stressed. Hope all the other travelers make it home safely and many prayers for the victims & their families of the #aspencrash in this heartbreaking time,” Rimes tweeted.

“Horrible plane crash here at Aspen airport. Exploded into flames as it was landing. I think it was a private jet,” Nealon tweeted.

“Right now, we have no indication that there was anything wrong prior to landing,” Burchetta said. However, the cause of the crash is still under investigation.

Image via Twitter

  • Learjet Captain

    I have flown into Aspen many times in various weather conditions. The conditions reported at the time were not exactly perfect, but were far from the poorer conditions that US trained pilots deal with routinely on that approach. I personally have had to deal with worse conditions than the ones reported at least once or twice a year when flying the Learjet 35 into and out of Aspen, along with Telluride and others. For those pilots who read or comment on this article, they will likely agree that the Lear 35 is one of the trickier aircraft to fly in gusting conditions, and our approach speed is relatively high for our aircraft size and gross weight, given the wing design (and planform). All things considered, while utmost care must be used, its not difficult or dangerous unless one pushes the limits of the approach by attempting to continue on the approach passed the Missed Approach Point or MDA as published in poor visibility. The visibility was actually great (for Aspen) and the ceiling was respectably high, so weather was really not a factor here.

    Looking at flight aware data I was surpised how poorly the initial missed approach was executed. Additionally, it has all the markings (both the first and second approach) of a crew that were behind the aircraft, and struggling with the approach.

    I am not passing judgement here, but I have flown with many aircrews over my career and Mexican nationals have BY FAR been the most incompetent, and poorly trained. I have also personally witnessed a Mexico City based pilot fail his initial type rating 3 times, even though the oral and practical exams were no different than the ones US and European trained pilots were having no difficulty with. I would really like to see what these 3 mexican pilots training logs included, and how well they performed at Flight Safety (a place that corporate pilots train and maintain currency) as well as how much time the Captain had in make and model. My gut tells me, there was pilot incompetency here.