Two hurt in plane crash south of Glenwood Springs
Two people were injured Sunday morning when a small plane crashed south of the Glenwood Springs airport.
According to witness reports, the plane went down near Cattle Creek after circling and turning back upvalley in an apparent attempt to make an emergency landing next to the Rio Grande Trail where the River Edge subdivision is being planned for development.
The plane flipped upside down and had significant damage to the front end.
Initial reports indicated the plane had taken off from Glenwood Springs Municipal Airport shortly before emergency calls came in at 9:53 a.m. and was experiencing engine troubles when the crash occurred.
The pilot was still in the aircraft when emergency crews arrived and had to be extricated.
The two occupants of the plane were taken to Valley View Hospital with unspecified injuries. There were no fatalities. The names of the pilot and the passenger were not released.
A witness said the plane had taken off from Glenwood a few minutes before the crash.
Another witness, Rick Carlson, who lives west of the Roaring Fork River near Ironbridge, said he observed the plane about 250 to 300 feet above the river and heard the engine sputtering.
“It looked like the pilot decided to land in the field and did a 180-degree turn,” Carlson said. “I did not see the landing but it stirred up quite a bit of dust.”
FAA records show the plane, registration number N3147S, as being a 1964 Cessna 182G owned by Heather Cook of Santa Fe, N.M. However, that registration expired on June 30, according to FAA records.
Other owners are listed as John Elling and Thomas Rising, who, according to his LinkedIn account, is a research and development engineer at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.
Emergency crews from the Carbondale and Glenwood Springs fire departments, Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, Colorado State Patrol and Glenwood Springs Police went to the scene of the crash.
“This plane crash happened in a tough spot with difficult access,” Carbondale Deputy Fire Chief Rob Goodwin said. “I am grateful to all of all of the responders that worked well together get both occupants of the plane out alive. It was a team effort.”
The crash will be investigated by the Garfield County Sheriff’s Department and the National Transportation Safety Board.
The Rio Grande Trail was closed near Cattle Creek as crews checked for leaking fluids, and cleanup operations began shortly before 11 a.m. The trail from Cattle Creek to County Road 154 at the CMC turnoff will be closed indefinitely while the crash is being investigated.
Carlson, a former pilot himself, said he can see planes coming in and out of the Glenwood airport on a regular basis from his home just south of the Ironbridge golf course and residential subdivision, between the Roaring Fork River and County Road 109.
“He was a long way from the runway and was way lower than he should be at that point,” Carlson said, adding that it sounded like the pilot was trying to restart the engine.
“After he passed our house the plane did a 180, probably looking for a landing spot,” he said. “Living where we do, we’ve always thought at some point in time we were going to see an engine-out situation. When that happens, as a pilot you just try to find the best possible spot to try to land.”
Post Independent Editor Randy Essex contributed to this report.
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Update at 9:45 p.m.: I-70 is open westbound at MM 114, West Glenwood. Eastbound remains closed at MM 105, New Castle, for an estimated 5-7 hours.