Kremmling crash: Plane ‘looks like it dropped out of the sky’ |

Kremmling crash: Plane ‘looks like it dropped out of the sky’

Will Bublitz
Sky-Hi Daily News
Vail, CO Colorado
Will Bublitz/Sky-Hi Daily NewsDeputy Shawn Murphy of the Grand County Sheriff's Department points to one of the twin engines of the small aircraft that crashed west of Kremmling Thursday night.

KREMMLING, Colorado ” Piles of charred debris are all that remains of the small aircraft that crashed near Kremmling Thursday night, taking the lives of the two people on board.

The twin-engine Piper PA-60 Aerostar, which took off from the North Las Vegas Airport in Nevada, crashed while attempting to land at Kremmling’s McElroy Airport.

According to the Grand County Sheriff’s Office, the crash took place about 8:25 p.m.

Grand County Coroner Brenda Bock reported the two people who died in the crash were a man and a woman. Their identities have not been released awaiting notification of next of kin.

In addition to the two people killed in the crash, the bodies of two dogs were also found in the wreckage.

The bodies of the victims were left in place overnight to allow investigators to survey the scene in daylight Friday morning. The press was allowed into the crash site at noon Friday.

At the crash site, located two miles west of Kremmling on the Grand River Ranch, the remains of airplane were concentrated in a small area on the eastern edge of an irrigation ditch. Small pieces of debris were thrown across the ditch by the impact.

While stressing that they are not aircraft accident investigators, Sheriff’s Investigator Terry Marchbanks and Deputy Shawn Murphy, who were left to guard the wreckage Friday afternoon, said it appeared the aircraft crashed into the ground at a steep angle.

“It looks like it basically dropped out of the sky,” Murphy said.

The deputies pointed to one of the airplane’s engines that was partially buried into the ground at what appeared to be at a 45-degree angle. In addition, the aircraft appears to be lying upside down.

The cause of the accident has not yet been determined. A team of aircraft crash investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) was expected to begin their work at the crash site Friday afternoon.

According to eyewitnesses in Kremmling, the aircraft circled the town at least once while attempting to land at McElroy Field. Unconfirmed accounts also report the aircraft sounded like it was having engine trouble.

Weather conditions at the time of the crash Thursday night included a low cloud ceiling.

An explosion and fire in the hayfield west of Kremmling alerted residents to the crash. Kremmling Police officers, led by Chief Scott Spade, rushed to the scene and were guided across the hayfield’s irrigation ditches in the darkness by Grand River Ranch employees.

Firefighters from the Kremmling Fire Department quickly reached the crash site to extinguish the fire. Also responding to assist were Grand County EMS ambulances and paramedics.

Grand County Sheriff Rod Johnson and Lt. Jim Campbell conducted the initial investigation Thursday night.

After it was determined there were no survivors from the crash, Grand County Coroner Brenda Bock was called to the site.

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