CLEAR CREEK COUNTY, Colo. - A third body has been found after a small plane crashed at Loveland Ski Area on Monday, according to the Clear Creek County Sheriff's Office. A spokesman also said the investigation is confident there will be no additional victims.
Reports say the plane went down and started a small wildfire under one of the lifts in a heavily wooded area at Loveland Valley, the beginner ski area which has its own base area, located east of the main ski resort. It was later identified by the NTSB as a Piper aircraft that took off from Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport en route to Moab, Utah.
Pictures from the scene show heavy smoke in the trees. A representative of the Clear Creek County Sheriff's Office said the fire at the crash site was contained to about 40 square feet.
Around 8:42 a.m. an eyewitness called to report seeing the plane crash after trying to gain altitude over the ridge line, said Capt. Randy Long said.
"The person described the aircraft as flying west up toward the Eisenhower Johnson memorial tunnels," Long said. "Trying to, obviously, go over the Continental Divide at that location. It did not appear that that aircraft had enough altitude. The pilot made a turn to go back down the valley. In the process of making that turn, the aircraft lost power and crashed."
Emergency responders and their equipment were able to reach the rugged crash scene about 30 minutes later.
"We have not been able to identify any of the flight information, tail numbers on the aircraft. The only thing we do know from the eyewitness is that it was a single engine aircraft and because of the conditions of the crash and the fire, we have no identifying marks on that aircraft," Long said.
Long added that the NTSB and FAA were advised about the crash.