Plane crash kills two |

Plane crash kills two

Identities of Steamboat Springs men not released

Autumn Phillips

— A plane went down Saturday night north of Walton Peak on Rabbit Ears Pass, killing the pilot and passenger.

The identities of the two men are not being released until the families have been notified.

Both men were from Steam–boat Springs. They were heading to the Steamboat Springs Airport-Bob Adams Field from Iowa.

The crash of the Lancair Columbia turboprop aircraft was reported to the Routt County Sheriff’s Office at 7:30 p.m. Saturday by a hunter who called 911 from his cell phone, said Routt County Search and Rescue incident commander Randall Hannaway.

The hunter, Dustin Woods of Denver, reported a plane flying dangerously low in the vicinity of Walton Peak. He also reported hearing sputtering and what sounded like backfiring.

“They flew almost right over our campsite,” Woods said. “I heard three bangs, and then there was no more motor noise.”

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Shortly after the call from Woods, Routt County Dispatch received a call from the pilot’s family saying he was overdue.

Routt County Search and Rescue sent four ground teams out Saturday night with directional search equipment. The teams were called back to Steamboat around 1:30 a.m. when their search was unsuccessful.

On Sunday morning at 8 a.m., Civil Air Patrol sent out a fixed-wing airplane to search for the crash site. Local pilot John Whitte took two Search and Rescue members in his helicopter.

The downed plane was found at 10:37 a.m. by helicopter.

At press time, investigators from National Transportation Safety Board and the airplane manufacturer were en route to the site.

The Sheriff’s Office has secured the site because of its accessibility from the road.