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Sunday, January 05, 2014

One dead as small jet crashes on runway at Aspen airport

One dead as small jet crashes on runway at Aspen airport

Leigh Vogel / The Aspen Times via AP

Emergency crews work near a passenger plane that crashed upon landing at the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport in Aspen, Colo., on Sunday.
By Erik Ortiz and Jay Blackman, NBC News

At least one person died when a small jet crashed Sunday afternoon at the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport in tony Aspen, Colo. — and at least two celebrities witnessed the fireball.

The aircraft burst into flames upon landing after 12:30 p.m. (2:30 p.m. ET), according to witnesses. Among those who said they were at the airport at the time of the accident were singer LeAnn Rimes and comedian Kevin Nealon.

“Horrible plane crash here at Aspen airport,” Nealon tweeted. “Exploded into flames as it was landing. I think it was a private jet.”

Gretchen Hawkesby (@starshipfriends) / Twitter

Emergency crews respond to a small jet crash at an airport in Aspen, Colo., on Sunday.

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

The Pitkin County Sheriff's Office said that three people were on board. One passenger died and two others were taken to Aspen Valley Hospital, the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office said. By late afternoon, one patient was in fair condition, while the other was in critical condition.

Pictures from the scene uploaded to social media show the plane upside down as firefighters douse the aircraft with water.

The plane, a twin-engine Bombardier Challenger 600, had made a stop in Tucson, Ariz., after departing from Toluca in southern Mexico.

The airport was closed following the accident, and the National Transportation Safety Board said it was sending two investigators to the scene.

Public records show the plane is registered to a Bank of Utah trustee. A bank spokesman told NBC News they would have “facilitated the sale” to a buyer, but couldn't immediately confirm who owned the aircraft.

The weather at the airport was overcast, and winds were 10-20 mph with gusts up to 30 mph.


© 2014 NBCNews.com

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