ASPEN, Colorado | DMN — A small plane crashed while trying to land at the Aspen, Colorado, airport Sunday afternoon, according to the FAA and local officials. The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office said that one passenger died and two passengers were taken to a local hospital. The jet, according to FAA spokesman Allen Kenitzer, was a Bombardier Challenger 600 that was coming from Tucson, Arizona. Photos posted on Twitter showed the plane upside down on the tarmac, its fuselage charred.
Two celebrities, who were at the small airport in the Aspen ski resort area, posted Twitter messages saying they witnessed the crash. “So sad! Horrible plane crash we just saw happen at the Aspen airport,” singer LeAnn Rimes tweeted. Comedian Kevin Nealon tweeted: “Horrible plane crash here at Aspen airport. Exploded into flames as it was landing. I think it was a private jet. Fire truck and ambulances were on the scene within minutes.”
Weather conditions at the time of the crash, according to the National Weather Service in Boulder, had west winds of 10 to 20 mph and gusts of around 30 mph, with temperatures from zero to minus-10 degrees. The Aspen airport is known as a challenging place for pilots to land because of the mountains that surround the runway. The airport tarmac is often filled with private planes owned or chartered by the wealthy and famous who own vacation homes in the mountain resort community. “Airport is closed now,” Nealon tweeted. “I think I’ll drive back to LA after seeing that.”