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Montrose Plane Crash, as paged

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Premium Subscriber
Dec 11, 2002
MONTROSE, Colo. -- A small plane crashed into an unoccupied tractor-trailer rig parked on a residential street Monday, and two people on board the plane were killed.

The plane, the truck and a pickup caught fire, but the flames were extinguished and none of the nearby houses caught fire. No one on the ground was killed or injured.

Scott Brownlee, director of aviation at Montrose Regional Airport, said the pilot of the plane and a passenger died in the crash.

Elaine Cole was at a service station about two blocks away and saw the plane just before it crashed.

"I thought it was awfully low and it dropped behind the trees and a black smoke plume came up. I told my husband, 'That plane just crashed,'" Cole told the Grand Junction Sentine.

"There was this big bang and my wife yells, 'Oh my God, the truck is on fire,"' said Levi Hawks, a long-haul trucker who owns the tractor-trailer cab.

Hawks said the cab was parked in front of his home. He said neither he nor his wife saw the collision.

Nancy Weese, who lives across the street, said the fire was so big it obscured the plane.

"At first we didn't know there was a plane there, because of the fire," she said.

Burning fuel spilled onto her front lawn.

Weese said the plane would have smashed into her house if Hawks' truck had not been parked where it was.

"I just thank the Lord the truck was there," she said.

The neighborhood where the plane crashed is underneath the flight path to Montrose Regional Airport, Montrose County sheriff's spokesman Dick Deines said.

The airport, about 180 miles southwest of Denver, was the scene of a November 2004 crash that killed the son of NBC Sports executive Dick Ebersol and two others. The National Transportation Safety Board said ice on the wings was a factor in the crash.

The crash occurred shortly after 10 a.m., said Gary Mayer, the regional duty officer for the Federal Aviation Administration in Seattle.

It was the first fatal crash in Montrose since the Ebersol crash, according to the National Transportation Safety Board Web site.
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