DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – The pilot who died in a tragic plane crash in Douglas County has been identified by the coroner’s office.
Robert Marquis, 67, was from Glade Park, Colorado — southwest of Grand Junction.
“Tons of respect for him. He let my daughter come intern with him for a week at his vet clinic when she was 12, 13. A real good guy,” said Justin Hunt, a family friend. “He loved to fly, I know that.”
Investigators are at the scene of a deadly plane crash in Douglas County more than 12 hours after the plane went down.
Emergency crews rushed to the Stepping Stone neighborhood on Friday night.
It wasn’t long after Marquis took off from Centennial Airport when he requested to return to the airport, and then disappeared off of radar and stopped communication with the tower.
Around that same time, Rob Gleave was sitting in his Lone Tree home with his wife.
“We heard a crash, and I looked out a saw a big dust cloud up in the air,” said Gleave.
He and another neighbor ran out to the field behind their houses and found the wreckage of Marquis’ plane.
“It was completely pieces everywhere and we knew it was bad,” he said.
NSTB officials say Marquis was the only person on board and did not survive.
The engine of the plane hit a nearby home, lodging itself inside Amy Webb’s living room.
She declined to talk to CBS4 on camera, but said that she didn’t really suspect anything was wrong until her living room exploded. She and her children are doing alright, but says she want’s as many people as possible to support the family of the pilot.
Dr. Jennifer Rodi, the NTSB Sr. Air Safety Investigator, said they expect a preliminary report to be released mid-to-late next week.
They say the aircraft is not equipped with data recorders, but there are some devices that could answer some of their questions.
They say they will look at the communication between Marquis and air traffic control before the crash, as well as the weather at the time.
The aircraft, a Cirrus SR22, single-engine propeller aircraft, was equipped with a parachute, but it was not deployed. It’s unclear why. Officials say the pilot was headed east and was maneuvering or turning before the crash.
The debris field spans approximately two acres.
South Metro Fire Rescue said the crash was a high speed impact crash.
Gleave can’t help but think that the damage could have been much worse.
“If he would have stayed in the air ten seconds longer he would have hit this house,” he said. “It was obviously really catastrophic.”