Small jet slips off runway |

Small jet slips off runway

Kathy Heicher and Scott N. Miller
Special to the Daily/Kim AndreeRescue crews spread foam over the downed jet as it lies at the north end of the runway at the Vail Valley Jet Center.

GYPSUM ” A small jet went off the north side of the runway around 9 a.m., Friday morning at Eagle County Airport.

A minor fire erupted and those on the plane suffered bumps and bruises, but no major injuries were reported.

There were four people in the plane when it crashed, a pilot, co-pilot, a nurse and a patient of the Shaw Cancer Center in Edwards. The aircraft was an air ambulance owned by Aspen Aviation.

Gene Slaughter, an employee of a car rental agency at the airport, said he saw the jet go off the runway; then there was some black smoke. Brian Bortz, owner of Dig It landscaping, was driving by when the mishap occurred.

“I saw a big commercial plane doing touch and goes, then a another plane came in really fast,” Bortz said. “I saw a lot of black smoke.”

He saw one person walk away from the crash, and two taken out on stretchers, he said.

The fire was quickly put out by airport firefighters and the Gypsum and Eagle fire departments. The airport was closed for less than 30 minutes, and planes were landing and taking off as fire crews continued to work alongside the runway.

“All we know is everyone’s OK,” said Tish Leslie of Aspen Aviation. “No one knows what went wrong.”

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the accident.

Vail Colorado

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