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Co-pilot killed, two injured in Aspen, Colo., when private jet crashes

Jan. 5, 2014 at 11:20 PM   |   Comments

ASPEN, Colo., Jan. 5 (UPI) -- A private jet crashed and burned at the airport in Aspen, Colo., Sunday, killing one of the three people on board, officials said.

The Pitkin County Sheriff's Office identified the man who died as co-pilot Sergio Emilio Carranza Barbata, 54, the Aspen Times and Aspen Daily News reported.

The two survivors, described as the pilot and another co-pilot whose names had not been released, were hospitalized, one in critical condition and the other in fair condition, the Daily News said.

"Their injuries are described as moderate to severe and were traumatic and not thought to be thermal in nature," the Times said the Sheriff's Office's release stated.

The aircraft came to rest belly up while trying to land at Aspen-Pitkin County Airport about 12:30 p.m. local time, the Aspen Daily News reported. The cause of the crash was unknown.

The twin-engine Bombardier Challenger 600, had made a stop in Tucson after departing from Toluca, Mexico, about 40 miles from Mexico City, before arriving in Aspen.

Multiple witnesses, including singer Leann Rimes and comedian Kevin Nealon, posted on Twitter they saw the plane crash, NBC and ABC reported.

Nealon tweeted, "Horrible plane crash here at Aspen airport. Exploded into flames as it was landing. I think it was a private jet," ABC reported.

"So sad! Horrible plane crash we just saw happen at the Aspen airport," NBC reported Rimes tweeted

Witnesses told the Daily News the plane's body was upside down near one end of the runway with a smaller piece that broke off resting closer to the terminal building.

The newspaper said the website FlightAware.com reported the plane involved in the crash had a tail number of N115WF and is registered to "Bank of Utah Trustee," which owns aircraft in trust on behalf of third parties.

The Daily News said inbound and outbound flights were canceled while crews began clearing the wreckage.

National Transportation Safety Board investigators were en route from Denver.

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