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Aspen plane crash plays out on social media

Rick Carroll
The Aspen Times
Aspen resident Randy Placeres was driving along Owl Creek Road, which runs next to Aspen-Pitkin County Airport, when he saw the jet overturned on the tarmac.
Randy Placeres/Special to The Aspen Times |

It didn’t take long for the news to spread Sunday that a private jet had crashed at Aspen-Pitkin County Airport.

Reports of the crash were abundant on such social-media websites such as Facebook and Twitter, where erroneous rumors abounded as well.

Moments after the crash, Aspen resident Randy Placeres said he was driving on Owl Creek Road, where he saw cars stopped on its shoulder.

“At first I thought it was a car accident, then I gazed over at the airport and that’s when I saw the plane,” he said. “It looked to me like a large marine animal, like a whale turned up on shore, so big, docile and dead. I just knew somebody had died, and I didn’t think anybody would make it.

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“I was shaken up.”

Placeres said his immediate reaction was to take a photo of the plane. Soon, the photo was on the CNN website and on social-media sites, as well.

“It’s just amazing how social media works,” he said.

The official word about the crash — one person was killed and two were injured — came from the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, which tweeted updates about the crash.

Comedian Kevin Nealon and singer Lee Ann Rimes were also at the airport at the time of the accident.

Both posted their reactions on Twitter.

“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,” Nealon tweeted.

Rimes tweeted, “So sad! Horrible plane crash we just saw happen at the Aspen airport.”

Scott Baio, star of the 1980s sitcom “Charles in Charge,” posted a photo of the ruined aircraft on the website whosay.com, with the following message: “Just passed by the Aspen crash. Many prayers to those people on board & loved ones.”

rcarroll@aspentimes.com


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