Aspen commercial flight makes emergency landing at Hayden
The Aspen Times
No passengers or crew members were injured when a commercial flight from Aspen made an emergency landing at the Hayden airport after one of the aircraft’s engines failed, officials said.
United flight 4919, operated by Republic Airlines, was bound for Denver International Airport. The twin-turboprop aircraft, a Bombardier Q400, left Aspen-Pitkin County Airport at 9:24 a.m., according to the United website’s flight itinerary.
“In the middle of the flight, probably 20 to 25 minutes into the flight, all of the sudden there was this big tugging feeling and a funny vibration,” said Bob Morris, who was on the plane with his wife, Joanne Ross. Morris, who manages Aspen Mountain Lodge, said the couple were on their way to Paris by way of Aspen, Denver and Chicago.
His wife looked through the window and noticed the aircraft’s right propeller wasn’t turning, Morris said.
“The propeller was slowly turning with the wind, and they zapped up the power on the left engine,” Morris said. “And the pilot said we’re going to make an emergency landing at the Hayden airport.”
The aircraft landed safely at around 10:20 a.m. Morris said. He said passengers remained calm — “I don’t think anybody panicked in the least” — and the landing was smooth.
“The pilot did a spectacular job of landing,” he said. “The pilot should be should be commended for keeping his cool and landing right on cue.”
Republican Airlines issued the following statement: “Republic Airlines 4919, operating as United Express from Aspen/Pitkin County Airport (ASE) to Denver International Airport (DEN), diverted to Yampa Valley Regional Airport (HDN) after reporting an engine issue. The Bombardier Q400 landed safely, and all 69 passengers and four crew members deplaned normally at the gate. All passengers were accommodated on a bus to continue passage to DEN. Maintenance is reviewing the issue, as the safety of our customers and crew is always our No. 1 priority.”
Kevin Booth, director of the Yampa Valley Regional Airport in Hayden, said a crew of safety personnel awaited the landing aircraft as a safety precaution. The runway was closed for about 20 minutes, he said.
Some passengers were rebooked and others took a shuttle bus to the Denver airport. Others were trying to reschedule their flights.
The plane was sold out before it departed, and Morris said passengers were given the option of travel vouchers if they stayed behind.
“The funny thing is the airline said they needed four people to get off and they were offering $800 in travel vouchers,” he said.
Booth said the incident will be reported to the National Transportation Safety Board.
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