Second plane crash victim dies |

Second plane crash victim dies

Matt Zalaznick

Clyde Johnson, an insurance agent, spent three weeks in the burn unit of a Denver hospital but never recovered from his injuries.

“We’re grieved, but at the same time we’re comforted to know Clyde is with the Lord,” said Charlie Cummings, a pastor at the tightly-knit Vail Bible Church of which Johnson was a member.

“Many friends from the church have been with Clyde and were with him when he passed away,” Cummings said.

Johnson’s wife, Laurie, 42, and the pilot of the plane, Christopher Aubel, also of Edwards, were injured in the crash as well.

Laurie Johnson, who runs an independent bookkeeping company, spent about 10 days at Vail Valley Medical Center and has been released. Aubel was flown to the same burn ward as Clyde Johnson and has also been released.

The Johnsons’ 2-year-old son, Macallen, died at the remote scene of the crash as rescuers reached the wreckage.

“Laurie is getting an incredible amount of support from friends and family,” Cummings said.

The Piper PA-28-180 single-engine plane piloted by Aubel took off from Eagle County Regional Airport around 8:35 a.m. Aug. 1. The plane was headed toward Idaho Falls, Idaho, according to a report by National Transportation Safety Board investigators.

The plane crashed about 19 miles northwest of the airport in a meadow near a line of trees about 10,050 feet above sea level.

Most of the plane was destroyed by fire, according to the NTSB report.

But neither the plane nor any of the passengers were heard from until noon that day, after Aubel, who’d hiked an hour from the wreckage despite suffering severe burns, found a fishing party from the nearby Sweetwater Resort.

A fishing guide then called 911 on a cellular phone and brought Aubel to an ambulance that was waiting about an hour away.

An Army National Guard Helicopter lowered rescuers into the wreckage. Clyde and Laurie Johnson were lifted from the crash. Clyde Johnson was then flown to Denver while Laurie Johnson was taken the Vail Valley Medical Center.

Aubel, a Xerox repairman, is also a member of the Vail Bible Church, Cummings said.

“The three of them are very valuable members of our Church and really great people,” Cummings said the day of the crash. “They’re pretty important people.”

Memorial services

A memorial service will be held for Clyde Johnson at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Vail Bible Church, 39209 U.S. Highway 6 in Avon.

Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 606, or via e-mail at

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