Nearby Police Helicopter Helped Guide Rescue Crews To Plane Crash

By Dillon Thomas

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4) – One person was taken to the hospital after a single-engine Piper Cherokee aircraft crashed south of Centennial Airport Saturday afternoon.

The National Transportation and Safety Board was called to the scene in order to investigate what caused the crash.

The aircraft had two people inside at the time of impact. The aircraft lost one wing as it clipped trees in the Western Union parking lot south of E-470.

Air traffic control logs from Centennial Airport suggested the plane had difficulties moments after takeoff.

“(The aircraft) was climbing out really low,” an air traffic controller said. “We have an emergency in progress for a downed aircraft just southeast of the field.”

A helicopter manned by Denver police was nearby, and responded. Although it took several minutes to locate the aircraft, Denver police were able to guide firefighters from South Metro Fire Rescue to the scene.

“We got it,” a pilot in the Denver police helicopter said. ”(The plane had) substantial damage on its roof. There’s a wing to the west of the crash location.”

South Metro Fire Rescue spokesman Eric Hurst said the southbound plane had turned, headed west to east, before crashing.

“The aircraft did go down in the parking lot, but the events that led up to that, we don’t know,” Hurst said. “The fact that (the passengers) were able to safely come out of the aircraft, and be out when firefighters arrived, is great news.”

CBS4 researched the ownership of the aircraft. Records showed the plane may have been recently acquired by the owner, as the status of the plane’s registration was listed as “in question.”

Records suggested the plane may have been transferred to a different owner as recent as Tuesday.

Dillon Thomas is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.

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