Plane crashes at Telluride Airport 30 feet from steep cliff

Pilot escapes injury

TELLURIDE, Colo. - Authorities say a 51-year-old man escaped injury when he crashed his small plane shortly after taking off from the Telluride Airport.

The San Miguel Sheriff's Office says the Crested Butte pilot, whose name has not been released, had taken off to the west.  Shortly after becoming airborne the aircraft veered to the southwest and could not gain altitude.  The aircraft hit the ground about 200 yards south of the runway and skidded another 100 yards, crashing into the airport perimeter fence and some oakbrush, which caused it to stop within 30 feet of a steep cliff. 

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the crash.

The pilot was the only one onboard the plane.