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4 injured when small plane crashes while landing on Colo. street

The pilot radioed he had engine problems shortly before trying to land on a street in Arvada

By Colleen Slevin
Associated Press

DENVER — Four people were hospitalized in serious to critical condition after a small plane crashed into the front yard of a suburban Denver home after trying to land in the street, authorities said.

The plane burst into flames after crashing, and the injuries to the plane’s four passengers included burns, Alex Lemishko, a senior accident investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board, said. Two of the four people taken to the hospital from the crash in Arvada, about 12 miles northwest of Denver, were adults. But it was not clear yet whether the other two people were adults or children, he said.

No one in the home, which is on a street running parallel to railroad tracks, was hurt, he said.

The 1969 Beechcraft 35 crashed about 15 minutes after taking off from Centennial Airport south of Denver, apparently headed to another suburban airport about 30 miles to the northwest, Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport, Lemishko said.

The unidentified pilot radioed that he was experiencing engine problems shortly before the crash and planned to land at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport, which was probably visible from the air by then, Lemishko said.

Instead, the pilot tried to land in the street in the residential neighborhood, he said. The plane’s left wing hit a large spruce tree, and the plane skidded down the roadway and veered into the yard, he said. The plane also hit a pickup truck parked on the street in front of the home, pushing the truck up into the home’s driveway into another truck, Aurora Fire spokesperson Deanna Harrington said.

A roadway or even railroad tracks is a reasonable option for a pilot to try to land if they cannot make it to an airport, Lemishko said.

“I’m sure what was going through the pilot’s mind was “I see a roadway, I need to get this aircraft down, let’s give it a shot,’ ” he said.

The plane was on fire when firefighters responded to the crash about 9:30 a.m., Arvada Fire operations chief Matt Osier said.

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