Plane crash kills two near Edwards
Vail, CO Colorado
EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – Eagle County Coroner Kara Bettis confirmed two people were onboard an aircraft that crashed Wednesday about 3 1/2 miles north of Edwards.
A National Guard helicopter crew spotted the wreckage of the aircraft around 7:15 a.m., near the area where a private plane registered to Barton Harris of Brownwood, Texas, lost radar contact with the Eagle County Airport Wednesday.
Crews searched through the night and were still treating the mission as a search and rescue as of Thursday morning, said Eagle County spokeswoman Kris Friel.
The identity of the pilot and the passenger are still unconfirmed. Bettis said identification will have to be done through fingerprint matching or dental records. She said that could take several days.
The aircraft, Beech 60 Duke twin engine, lost radar contact around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.
An article in the Brownwood News quoted sources close to the Harris family as saying Harris and a family friend from out of state were headed to Colorado on a ski trip. A man who answered the phone the Harris residence declined to comment.
A woman who picked up the phone at Jerry Hoggatt’s home said he had left Texas with a friend on Wednesday in a plane matching the description of the one that crashed. She said Hoggatt had been headed to the Eagle County airport for a ski vacation at Buttermilk. Hoggatt, 73, from Pelham, Alabama, had flown his own plane from Alabama to Brownwood, Texas, where he departed as a passenger Wednesday in a different plane piloted by a friend, the woman said.
Crews arrived at the site of the crash around 10:20 a.m., which is in steep terrain at an elevation of about 10,800 feet, a news release from Eagle County said. A statement from the National Guard said its helicopter crew located the crashed plane around 7:10 a.m. Thursday near the top of Red and White Mountain at about 11,500 feet.
The National Transportation Safety Board will conduct an investigation.
The agencies helping out in the search and rescue include Eagle County Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting, Eagle County Ambulance District, Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, Eagle River Fire Protection District, Garfield Search and Rescue, Greater Eagle Fire Protection District, Salvation Army – Emergency Cantina, Summit County Search and Rescue, Vail Mountain Rescue, Vail Police Department and Western Eagle County Search and Rescue.
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