DEVELOPING: Investigating the Plane Crash at the Aspen Airport

Jan 6, 2014

3:53pm - Courtney Liedler of the NTSB says as of 3pm her team has not been able to get onto the aircraft to start the interior investigation. But, the Federal officials say man, machine and mother nature are the key aspects they will be investigating related to the crash. She says the final report will take 12-18 months to complete, but a preliminary report should be released about 5-7 days after the NTSB team leaves Aspen.

As for the re-opening of the Aspen Airport, Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo says investigators are fighting daylight to do the work they need to do today. He says he would like to reopen the airport this evening, but that might not be possible because lack of light could slowdown or halt efforts as evening approaches. Either way, DiSalvo says he hopes the Aspen Airport will be reopen sometime tomorrow. But, that will be based on the progress of the investigation, any soil remediation that is needed due to the fuel spill and other factors.

Courtney Liedler - Air Safety Investigator for the NTSB - at the Aspen Airport on January 6th, 2014
Credit Rob St. Mary

1:49pm - The NTSB will hold a media briefing at 3pm on the cash at the Aspen Airport. We'll be live tweeting from the scene. Expect updates on-air and on-line following the conference.

11:28am - Local officials including Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo held a briefing this morning at the Aspen Airport. Officials said the NTSB has started its investigation of yesterday's crash. Heavy equipment is helping to stabilize the plane so investigators can work around the wreckage. Around 2pm people with the manufacturers, Bombardier & GE, will arrive at the Aspen Airport to assist with the investigation. The manufacturer's representatives are expected to help assist the NTSB in draining the remaining fuel from the plane and help explain specific features related to the 1994 Canadair Challenger twin-engine jet. After the field investigation is complete, the NTSB will approve the removal of the wreckage. The plane will be lifted from the runway and placed on a flatbed truck. The wreackage could end up at another site for further investigation. Under the plane is removed from the runway, the Aspen Airport will remain closed to all air traffic. Travelers who have flights leaving Aspen have been offered bus service to Denver and Grand Junction. To access busses, changes in flight schedules, and more, travelers are urged to us the Aspen Airport website for more information: http://www.aspenairport.com/

Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo - January 6th, 2014
Credit Rob St. Mary

7:41am - Movements today at the Aspen Airport are expected to include an NTSB "Go Team" who will investigate the crash of N115WF, the 1994 Canadair Challenger twin-engine business jet  flight from Tucson, Arizona, yesterday afternoon. A 10am news briefing at the airport is scheduled with officials about the crash and the next steps. Meanwhile, the airport is closed until cleared for use by officials. The Aspen Airport will have bussed running starting at 9am to take re-routed travelers to Denver to meet their new flights.

To recap, at 12:23pm Sunday the plane crashed at the Aspen Airport. On board was three pilots. All three were injured, one fatally.  54-year old co-pilot Sergio Emilio Carranza Barbata was killed in the crash. Miguel Henriquez and Moises Carranza were injured in the crash. Both were transferred to St. Mary's in Grand Junction. The pair were listed in "critical condition", last night. 

Press release from the Aspen County Sheriff's Department: