After yesterday's tragic plane crash in Aspen, the airport remains closed, and an estimated 1,600 travelers are stranded. Says Sally Spaulding, Public Relations Director, Hospitality Division, of the Aspen Skiing Company, "We're doing our best to accommodate guests who are stranded in Aspen, including offered discounted rates. This incident has affected thousands of travelers both in and out of the airport." A tweet posted on Aspen Aiport's feed at 3:25pm today stated, " #NTSB Briefing Aspen Airport: Airport to remain closed, no time frame given. Too early in investigation to tell when wreckage can be moved."
The private jet's flight originated Sunday morning in Toluca, Mexico. After a fuel stop in Tuscon, it resumed flight to Aspen, where it exploded on impact at 12:23pm after an attemped landing. The plane has been identified as a Bombardier Challenger 600, tail number N115WF, and is registered to the Bank of Utah.
According to Brian Grefe, Aspen-Pitkin County Airport's assistant aviation director of administration, the airport has remained closed because the wreckage- a piece of tail and the fuselage- are still on the runway. "The wreckage can't be removed until inspectors for the NTSB and Bombardier arrive (estimated to be at 2:30pm MST). Flights out of Aspen remain fully booked through the week and airport officials are bussing affected travelers to Grand Junction and Denver airports.
While the cause of the crash is still under investigation, air traffic control voice recordings suggest that the aircraft attempted to land in winds over 30 mph. After an aborted landing, the plane circled back for a second attempt, crashed upon impact on the runway and burst into flames. First responders from the Aircraft Rescue Firefighting Team doused the fire within minutes, but conditions remain hazardous due to residual jet fuel, live batteries, and the precarious positioning of the aircraft's remains.
The three passengers were all pilots: co-pilot Sergio Emilio Carranza, 54, was pronounced dead at the scene. Details on the names and nationalities of the other two passengers, both male, have not yet been released. Their conditions are listed as "fair," and "critical," respectively, says Aspen Valley Hospital spokeswoman Ginny Dyche. Both men have since been transferred to other hospitals, and their injuries are "not thought to be thermal in nature."