Man dies in Marble plane crash
MARBLE – A man was killed Wednesday after the single-engine plane he was flying crashed near a small airstrip just outside Marble.John P. Kramer, 77, was the only person on board. The Taylorcraft BC12-D fixed-wing plane went down around 1:30 p.m. when Kramer was trying to land at the grass runway a half-mile outside town.”The aircraft overshot the runway, applied power, then stalled,” according to a statement from the Gunnison County Sheriff’s Office. The plane came to rest upside down on County Road 3, which runs through the tiny hamlet in the Crystal Valley. Kramer was apparently killed on impact.Dave Jones, owner of the town’s general store, said he saw the plane in the air.”He made a couple of passes. I’m sure it was him,” Jones said. “The last time, he cut the engine speed way down. I just figured he was going in for a landing.” He said he did not see the plane crash happen. Rescue crews from the Gunnison County and Carbondale righted the plane and extracted Kramer. Rescuers tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate the victim.The airstrip is at about 7,600 feet in elevation and is ringed by 13,000-foot peaks on three sides. But experienced mountain pilots say landings and take-offs are relatively easy.The runway is owned by Bob Conger, of Denver, who opened the field for pilots to use for summertime vacation getaways. It was featured last summer in Pilot Getaways magazine as a bush fly-in destination.Despite its remote location, the airstrip is occasionally visited by pilots in the summer, with as many as 50 planes converging on it at various times during the summer. The strip is generally smooth and well-maintained.Kramer was flying in from the west in fair weather. He crashed about 200 feet from the west end of the runway. The accident closed the county road, which is the only route in and out of Marble, and vacationers and residents were stranded on either side of the crash site.Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board were en route Wednesday evening.Gary Hubbell contributed to this report.
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