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Celebrities Witness Fatal Plane Crash At Aspen–Pitkin County Airport

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An image from the crash (credit: Gretchen Hawkesby)

An image from the crash (credit: Gretchen Hawkesby)

ASPEN, Colo. (CBS4/AP) – One person is dead and two others were injured after a plane crashed while attempting to land at the Aspen–Pitkin County Airport just after noon on Sunday.

Thomas Wright, a dispatcher with the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, says three people were aboard the plane. He says one person was severely injured and another suffered non-serious injuries. All three are from Mexico, where the flight originated.

Alex Burchetta, director of operations for the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, identified the man who died as copilot Sergio Carranza Brabata of Mexico. He did not release the names of the two injured, and he did not know where in Mexico Brabata lived.

Burchetta said the plane went off the right side of the runway, flipped over and burst into flames.

“The injuries were traumatic in nature, but they were not thermal,” he said. “So the fire never reached inside the cabin as far as we can tell.”

Ginny Dyche, a spokeswoman for Aspen Valley Hospital, said the facility received two patients who were involved in the crash. She later said one patient in fair condition and another in critical condition were transferred elsewhere.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Peter Knudson, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, confirmed the plane was a Canadair CL-600, a midsized private jet. The aircraft is registered to the Bank of Utah in Salt Lake City, according to Federal Aviation Administration records. Bank officials did not immediately respond to phone and email messages seeking comment.

Allen Kenitzer, an FAA spokesman, said the plane was headed from Tucson, Ariz., and crashed upon landing. Officials said the crash happened at 12:22 p.m. MST.

A plane with the same tail number took off at 6 a.m. MST from the airport in Toluca, a city 35 miles west of Mexico City, before stopping in Tucson, according to a Mexican federal official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

Officials said there was light snow falling and strong winds when the fiery crash occurred.

According to FlightAware.com, the plane circled the airport multiple times, at least three times, before it came down and attempted to land.

Several celebrities posted on Twitter that they witnessed the crash. Country and pop singer LeAnn Rimes tweeted, “So sad! Horrible plane crash we just saw happen at the Aspen airport.”

Comedian Kevin Nealon tweeted, “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. I don’t believe there are any survivors. Airport is closed now. I think I’ll drive back to LA after seeing that.”

The airport closed for the investigation.

The names of those on board haven’t been released.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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