Landing mishap shutters Aspen airport
ASPEN, Colorado A single-engine aircraft skidded off the runway while landing Wednesday at the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport, leading to the closure of the strip for more than two hours, authorities said.The accident happened about 12:30 p.m. and involved a 2006 turboprop Piper airplane. No one was injured.Two people were aboard the airplane, which is registered to Richbuilt Construction LLC of Boca Raton, Fla., according to Federal Aviation Administration records. The airplane ended up in a snowbank alongside the landing strip.No fuel leaks were reported, but the plane did suffer damage to its propeller. No dollar estimate for the damage was released.The airplane went in and left the runway sideways. So we couldnt just pull it back, said Jim Elwood, the airports director of aviation, on the removal process. It was complicated by the ground. Its very, very soft next to the runway. We had to make sure we just didnt turn it around and sink it into the mud.Air service to and from the airport was restored at about 2:45 p.m. The mishap led to several flight cancellations, including a Frontier Airlines flight to Denver.An inbound United Airlines flight from Denver was diverted.FAA spokesman Mike Fergus of the Northwest Mountain Region said the incident is under investigation. He said it would take about two weeks to complete the inquiry.Fergus said the pilot, whose name was not released, could be subject to penalty but it depended on whether there have been previous incidents.You just dont drop an anvil on somebody for the first time, he said.