Aspen plane crash kills 1, injures 2

(Photo: Courtesy of Google Maps)
Photo: Aspen-Pitkin Airport Map

Authorities say the plane crash killed one man and injured two others.

Officials said the flight to the wealthy mountain resort city originated in Mexico and all three aboard were Mexican pilots, two were flying and one was a passenger, according to the Associated Press.

Alex Burchetta, director of operations for the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office, identified the man who died as co-pilot Sergio Carranza Brabata.

"The injuries were traumatic in nature but they were not thermal," Burchetta said. "So the fire never reached inside the cabin as far as we can tell."

Ginny Dyche, a spokeswoman for Aspen Valley Hospital, told the Associated Press that the facility received two patients who were involved in the crash.

The sheriff's office identified the two others aboard as Miguel Henriqez and Moises Carranza but didn't say who was the most seriously injured.

Aspen attracts celebrities and the wealthy for its skiing and all around ambiance, a popularity that leads to numerous private aircraft using its airport.

And at least two celebrities reported on Twitter that they were witnesses, confirming their tweets with The Associated Press.

Country singer LeAnn Rimes Cibrian tweeted via @leannrimes on Sunday: "So sad! Horrible plane crash we just saw happen at the Aspen airport."

Comedian Kevin Nealon sent a series of tweets about the crash through @kevin_nealon.

His first one said, "Horrible plane crash here at Aspen airport. Exploded into flames as it was landing. I think it was a private jet." Later he tweeted, "Airport is closed now. I think I'll drive back to LA after seeing that."

Peter Knudson, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, confirmed the plane was a Canadair CL-600, a midsized private jet.

The sheriff's office said the airport was closed after the crash and would reopen as soon as possible but it did not provide a timeline, saying the NTSB must give the OK to remove the debris from the runway.

An investigation by the NTSB and FAA is expected to get underway Monday morning, the office said.

Allen Kenitzer, an FAA spokesman, said the plane was headed from Tucson, Ariz., and crashed upon landing. Officials said the crash happened at 12:22 p.m. MT on Sunday.