Pitkin Co. Officials Believe Wind Was Behind Crash

Jan 5, 2014

Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo
Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo
Credit Roger Adams - Aspen Public Radio

“911 call came in…”

That’s Pitkin County Sheriff Deputy Alex Burchetta speaking this afternoon at the Aspen Airport where a small private jet crashed on landing with two pilots and another person on board.  The co-pilot, Sergio Barbata age 54 was killed in the crash.

“survivors to hospital…”

The plane, arriving from Arizona, is a Challenger 600 Business Jet manufactured by Canadian-owned Bombardier.  One eyewitness told us he saw the plane burst into flames and cartwheel down the runway. 

Undated photo of the plane that crashed at the Aspen Airport on January 5th, 2014.
Undated photo of the plane that crashed at the Aspen Airport on January 5th, 2014.
Credit http://flightaware.com/news/article/Aircraft-Accident-at-Aspen-KASE--N115WF-Canadair-Challenger/190

The charred wreckage of the main fuselage came to rest at the east end of the runway.  A piece of the plan’s tail section broke off and was several hundred yards away on the western end the tarmac.

Photo of the wreckage at the Aspen Airport on January 5th, 2014.
Photo of the wreckage at the Aspen Airport on January 5th, 2014.
Credit Roger Adams - Aspen Public Radio

At the time of the crash the airport terminal was crowded with passengers awaiting flights out.  The airport was immediately closed all air traffic.  Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board will begin investigating the accident this evening. 

Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo was on the scene along with personnel from Aspen and Snowmass Police, firefighters and Emergency Medical personnel.  Officials did not say what was communicated between the aircraft and the tower before the crash. Conditions were clear at the time but DiSalvo noted that it had been an unusually windy day.

“not surprised by wind…”

Airport administrators closed the airport for at least 24 hours.  That could become longer as the NTSB continues investigation into the crash continues.  People expecting to fly out this evening and tomorrow are advised to contact their airline.  Eyewitnesses to the crash are asked to contact the Pitkin County Sheriff’s office.