Single-engine plane crashes on northeast side of Castle Rock; pilot seriously injured

Pilot was only person onboard plane, officials say

CASTLE ROCK, Colo. - Authorities say a pilot was seriously injured when the single-engine plane she was flying clipped power lines in thick fog and crashed into a gully on the northeast side of Castle Rock on Monday evening.

The plane came down in an open space area about 100 feet from homes in the Sapphire Point neighborhood, said  Karen McGrath, a spokeswoman for the Town of Castle Rock.

The crash was reported at 7:01 p.m. near Gemstone Park, at 6145 Sapphire Pointe Blvd. Castle Rock Fire and Rescue and police responded to the scene.

Authorities say icy conditions may have played a role in the crash.

"Initial reports are that the pilot radioed in [to Centennial Airport] about icing conditions before the crash," said McGrath.

The pilot was identified Wednesday as Helen Cernik, 32.  She told rescuers she was the only one onboard the plane, said Caroline Kipp, another Castle Rock spokeswoman.

"I was sitting at my kitchen table when I heard the engine and I heard the big boom," said Jennifer Frieling, the neighbor living closest to crash. She was the first to find the plane and its pilot.

"I came out with my flashlight and coat and found the plane, and then I found the body [of the pilot]. She was unconscious at the time and moaning," Frieling told 7NEWS reporter Jaclyn Allen.

While the plane was 100 feet from Frieling's house, she said the pilot was found just 30 feet from her home.

Castle Rock Fire Chief Art Morales said the pilot had crawled that far from the wreckage.

McGrath said it was unknown where the pilot was headed or where she had come from, but the crash site is in the flight path for Centennial Airport, which is about ten miles away.

The pilot was transported to a hospital. Her name was not immediately released.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration were at the crash site Monday night and are expected to return in the morning.


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