At Least 1 Dead in Aspen Airport Plane Crash

Plane was reportedly on second landing attempt.

ByABC News
January 5, 2014, 3:20 PM

Jan. 5, 2013— -- At least one person is dead and another has serious injuries after a private plane crashed today at the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport in Aspen, Colo., the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office said.

The private jet was on its second landing attempt when it crashed at the airport, going off the side of the runway, flipping over and bursting into flames, sending black smoke billowing into the air.

Emergency crews responded immediately to the crash, the Sheriff's Office said.

According to transcripts from the cockpit voice recorder there was no mayday issued by the pilots although there was concern over wind gusts in the area.

The plane, which according to the Sheriff's Office had three people onboard, originated from Mexico and stopped in Tucson, Ariz., before arriving in Aspen.

Co-pilot Sergio Carranza Brabata, 54, of Mexico, was killed in the crash, according to the Pitkin County Sheriff's office.

The more seriously injured person was the pilot, whose identity was not released. The passenger with the more moderate injuries was also not identified, but was described as another pilot.

"The injuries were traumatic in nature, but they were not thermal," Pitkin County Sheriff's Office director of operations Alex Burchetta said. "So the fire never reached inside the cabin as far as we can tell."

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allan Kenitzer said there was not much information that could be confirmed early on.

"The airplane appears to be a Bombardier Challenger 600, coming from Tucson to Aspen. It crashed while attempting to land," Kenitzer said.

Multiple witnesses, including singer LeAnn Rimes Cibrian and comedian Kevin Nealon, reported seeing the plane crash on twitter and wrote that smoke was coming from the site.

Around 2:30 p.m. ET Nealon wrote, "Horrible plane crash here at Aspen airport. Exploded into flames as it was landing. I think it was a private jet."

After the crash, air traffic controllers directed emergency services to the crash and alerted other pilots that there had been a crash in the area.

"What's with all the smoke behind us at our 5 o'clock position?" one pilot asked.

"There was an incident on the runway here sir," an air traffic controller replied.

The airport has been closed indefinitely following the crash.

Heidi Levey had just dropped off her daughter at the airport when she heard screams from people near a window. She said she looked out just in time to see the plane burst into flames.

"It was scary," she said. "You don't want to see a plane in flames. Everyone was crying and just very upset."

She said her first though was about her daughter.

"I thought her plane had already left, so it wasn't until after that I learned that, that she was on the tarmac and safe," she said.

ABC News' Matt Hosford contributed to this report.