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NTSB: Witness heard engine issues before deadly Broomfield plane crash

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Posted at 10:58 AM, May 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-23 13:24:42-04

BROOMFIELD, Colo. — The two people killed in a plane crash in Broomfield on Sunday were both pilots, and a witness with aviation experience along the departure path said he heard issues with the engine shortly before it crashed, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

The NTSB and Broomfield Police Department provided an update on the deadly crash on Monday morning.

The Piper PA32-360, with tail number N85CT, went down near Anthem Ranch Road and Las Brisas Drive in the Anthem Ranch neighborhood around 11:45 a.m., officials said. The two pilots were ejected and died at the scene, according to Rachel Haslett, the public information officer for the Broomfield Police Department.

Mike Folkerts with the NTSB said the initial investigation indicated the plane took off from Erie Municipal Airport, and it went down less than a minute later.

No one witnessed the crash, but there was one person on the departure path with aviation experience who heard abnormal engine sounds described as two carburetor coughs, according to Folkerts. About 10 seconds later, the same witness heard the crash.

Folkerts said the flight took a shallow climb path, made a left turn and then made impact on the left wing and hit a tree before coming to a rest.

The crash happened in a populated area, and officials said it was lucky that no one on the ground was hurt and no vehicles were hit, though it came about 80-100 feet from a house. Because the pilot made a left turn in the direction of an east-west running road, it’s possible the pilot was making an attempt to land on the road, Folkerts said.

The weather was good at the time of the flight, according to Folkerts. Investigators will focus on the shallow climb path and six propeller strikes found on the roadway. They'll also look into data from the plane, any possible maintenance issues, pilot records and environmental factors, among other facts.

Investigators will visit the recovery facility later in the day Monday where they’ll assess the engine.

NTSB will release a preliminary report in approximately 10 days, but final reports will take a year or more. Folkerts said he hopes from what they learn that they will be able to issue recommendations to help “stop the next tragedy.”

Haslett thanked the first responders as well as all of the community members who tried to assist the victims after the crash.

The identities of the two pilots have not been released as the coroner’s office works to positively identify them and notify next of kin. Folkerts confirmed the two both had private pilot certificates, and said their initial investigation doesn’t show it was a training run.

Several roads were closed after the accident, but everything has since reopened aside from one portion of sidewalk in the area, Haslett said.

This comes less than two weeks after another deadly plane crash on May 11. One person was killed in the single-engine plane crash in the area of Eldorado Boulevard and Interlocken Loop.