BREAKING: Plane Crash at Aspen Airport

Jan 5, 2014

3:58pm, January 6th - All updates can be found here: http://aspenpublicradio.org/post/developing-investigating-plane-crash-aspen-airport

9:03pm - Reports say both survivors of the crash have been transferred to Grand Junction for treatment and are in "critical condition" according to 9News in Denver.

8:54pm - Reporter Karen Morfitt of CBS 4 in Denver reports "Miguel Henriquez and Moises Carranza are the two injured pilots in Aspen plane crash. Transported to St Mary's in Grand Junction, Co."

8:49pm - Buses to Denver will connect passengers being rerouted due to the closure of the Aspen Airport during the investigation of today's crash. The buses are set to leave at 9am tomorrow. There's no word at this time when the airport will reopen for regular service.

5:54pm - The Pitkin County Sheriff's Department lists the name of the person fatally injured in the crash as 54-year old co-pilot Sergio Emilio Carranza Barbata. 

The full release is as follows:

Press Release from Pitkin County Sheriff's Department - 01/05/2014

"Private Jet Crashes At Aspen/Pitkin County Airport

Pitkin County, Colorado – January 05, 2014 – One person was killed and two injured when a private jet crashed on landing at the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport today. The accident occured at approximately 12:23 p.m. The aircraft was fully engulfed in flames and had flipped over after impact. First responders from the Aircraft Rescue Firefighting (ARFF) Team were able to extinguish the flames in minutes. The Pitkin County Sheriff's Office, Aspen Police, Aspen Ambulance, Aspen Fire, Snowmass Wildcat Fire Protection District and Basalt Fire Department also responded to the scene.

All three aboard were pilots, a pilot and copilot flying the plane and another pilot as a passenger. Copilot Sergio Emilio Carranza Barbata age 54 was pronounced dead at the scene. The names of the other pilot and copilot are being withheld by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Their injuries are described as moderate to severe and were traumatic and not thought to be thermal in nature. NTSB officials are enroute from Denver and are expected to take over the investigation.

The noncommercial aircraft is being described as a Bombardier Challenger 600. The wreckage remains on the Owl Creek side of the runway at this time.

The airport remains closed until the NTSB gives the go ahead to clear the wreckage and debris from the runway. Every effort is being made by airport officials to reopen the airport as soon as possible. Travelers are advised to check with their airlines on flight availability tonight and tomorrow."

5:23pm - According to the website flightaware.com the plane circled several times before trying to land.

Flight approach according to the fightware.com website.
Credit http://flightaware.com/live/flight/N115WF

4:44pm - A post to youtube of the LiveATC audio of the N115WF moments before today's crash. A live feed from the Aspen control can be heard here: http://www.liveatc.net/search/?icao=ASE

4:35pm - Channel 7 in Denver reports: Radio traffic indicated the jet executed a missed approach: "Missed approach November one one five Wiskey Fox. Three-three knots of tailwind."  Audio at 11:15 in: http://ch7ne.ws/1hpFEuI  A few minutes later they reported "a tailwind of 30 knots."

3:59pm - NTSB announced via twitter it is investing today's crash.

3:16pm - The Aspen Airport will be closed to all air traffic until tomorrow, Monday, afternoon at the earliest according to Pitkin County officials. Please contact your airline to reschedule or make other arrangements.

Aspen, Snowmass and Pitkin County emergency crews responded to the crash this afternoon.  

3:08pm - A youtube video posted by a Craig Lucie allegedly shows the weather conditions at the Aspen airport near the time of the crash earlier today.


2:36pm - The National Transportation Safety Board "Go Team" is expected in Aspen to investigate the crash. What is the process for such an investigation? The NTSB offers information on their website related to investigations.

"At the core of NTSB investigations is the "Go Team." The purpose of the Safety Board Go Team is simple and effective: Begin the investigation of a major accident at the accident scene, as quickly as possible, assembling the broad spectrum of technical expertise that is needed to solve complex transportation safety problems.

The team can number from three or four to more than a dozen specialists from the Board's headquarters staff in Washington, D.C., who are assigned on a rotational basis to respond as quickly as possible to the scene of the accident. Go Teams travel by commercial airliner or government aircraft depending on circumstances and availability. Such teams have been winging to catastrophic airline crash sites for more than 35 years. They also routinely handle investigations of certain rail, highway, marine and pipeline accidents.

During their time on the "duty" rotation, members must be reachable 24 hours a day by telephone at the office or at home, or by pager. Most Go Team members do not have a suitcase pre-packed because there's no way of knowing whether the accident scene will be in Florida or Alaska, but they do have tools of their trade handy -- carefully selected wrenches, screwdrivers and devices peculiar to their specialty. All carry flashlights, tape recorders, cameras, and lots of extra tape and film.

The Go Team's immediate boss is the Investigator-in-Charge (IIC), a senior investigator with years of NTSB and industry experience. Each investigator is a specialist responsible for a clearly defined portion of the accident investigation."

You can read more about it here: http://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/process.html

1:56pm - Three confirmed on board. Three injured in the crash: 1 fatal, 1 severe and 1 minor. The injured are being treated at Aspen Valley Hospital.

1:49pm - Because of the crash, the airport is closed and expect delays.

1:46pm - The website flightaware has named the plane, provided photos, A 1994 Canadair Challenger twin-engine business jet  flight from Tucson, Arizona. The flight track for N115WF.

The Plane
Credit http://flightaware.com/news/article/Aircraft-Accident-at-Aspen-KASE--N115WF-Canadair-Challenger/190

1:41pm - Early, unconfirmed reports are that the plane - a Bombardier Challenger 600, fin number N115WF, was registered to Bank of Utah. FAA has not officially identified the plane.

1:36pm - Pitkin County Sheriff's Department official Alex Bruchetta says one confirmed dead, two injured in plane crash.

1:23pm - Latest from Pitkin County: A private plane crashed, the airport is closed. The FAA says the airplane that crashed appears to be a Bombardier Challenger 600, coming from Tucson to Aspen.

1:06pm - Just about 12:30pm today twitter started to report eyewitness information from people who saw a plane fire at the Aspen Airport. We are still piecing together what happened, sending people to the scene and seeking official comment.