Plane Crash: Transcript of 911 call


Following is a transcript of the 911 call made by passenger Steve Palmer shortly after the Piper Cherokee Saratoga crashed Sunday in the Routt National Forest.

DISPATCH: 911, where's your emergency?

STEVE PALMER: We were on a plane, we just crashed.

DISPATCH: Where are you at?

PALMER: I don't know, can you triangulate on my signal or something?

DISPATCH: O.K., what happened?

PALMER: We didn't have enough altitude to clear the trees and we came out rough and we went end over end... and we've got a broken arm and I think some of my toes are broken and we have someone still on the plane we can't get out. She's unconscious.

DISPATCH: You were skiing on the ski mountain?

PALMER: No, we were on a plane

DISPATCH: Oh, on a plane?



(New dispatcher)

DISPATCH: You don't know where you're at? Where were you headed to?

PALMER: We were headed toward Colorado... We were headed towards Canon City

DISPATCH: Canon City. From where?

PALMER: From Steamboat Springs Airport.

DISPATCH: From Steamboat Springs Airport?


DISPATCH: O.K., and how many people total are there?

PALMER: Uh, four. I'm going to lose my battery here. You need to get going on this.

DISPATCH: O.K., is there a plane number or a tail number, or do you have a flight plan filed with the FAA?

PALMER: (Asking other passengers) Do we have a flight plan filed? No, no flight plan.

DISPATCH: Do you have any kind of locator?

PALMER: (Asking other passengers) Do we have a locator? We have an on-board locator, yeah.

DISPATCH: O.K., well what time -- you left the Steamboat Springs Airport-Bob Adams Field 20 to 30 minutes ago, headed what direction?

PALMER: Uh, I don't know. You gotta hurry, my battery's gonna die and I'm not going to have any chance to....

DISPATCH: O.K., yeah, we need to know where you are -- any ideas?

PALMER: We were coming up, we were trying to gain altitude to make it over the mountains so we could head south.

DISPATCH: O.K. Still there? O.K. Are there injuries?

PALMER: Yes, there are injuries. We need help.

DISPATCH: O.K., how bad are the injuries? What are they?

PALMER: My mom is still on the plane. We can't get her out. She's unconscious. She's injured pretty bad. We've got a broken shoulder, and we have some heavy lacerations to the head.

DISPATCH: O.K., can you see anything from where you're at?

PALMER: Just trees.

DISPATCH: O.K., any peaks?


DISPATCH: Any mountain tops?

PALMER: No. Nothing.

DISPATCH: O.K. And what's your name?

PALMER: My name is Steve Palmer. We need help bad, my mom's not going to make it, so get somebody out here quick.

DISPATCH: O.K. We still need to get your location. My partner's working on that while I'm asking questions, O.K.?

PALMER: It hurts, I'm in pain.

DISPATCH: There's four people and you're all injured?


DISPATCH: And one's critical?

PALMER: Yeah, and we need to get her out of the plane, we don't know what to do.

DISPATCH: O.K., what's the tail number of the plane?

PALMER: What's the tail number, Skip (asking pilot)? 7-9-8-9-Charlie

DISPATCH: 7-9-8-9-Charlie?

PALMER: We're about 10 miles east of the airport. We're about 10 miles east of the Steamboat Springs resort

DISPATCH: O.K., can you see Rabbit Ears Pass?

PALMER: We can't see anything, and we're unable to move

DISPATCH: O.K. What's your cell phone number?

PALMER: I don't know what the cell phone number is. (Caller then gets cell phone number from other passengers and gives it to dispatcher)

DISPATCH: O.K., what kind of plane is it?

PALMER: What kind of plane is it (asking other passengers)? It's a Cherokee-6. You can't really see us, but you might be able to see where we went down. There's a piece of our plane still in the tree, but uh...

DISPATCH: Do you guys have any flares?

PALMER: (Asking other passengers) Do we have any flares? We don't have any flares ...Oh (expletive) It hurts. How do you guys take us out of here?

DISPATCH: We'll go ahead and call the FAA and see if we can get a fix on your locator. Other than that, we need to get somebody up in the air to see if we can get you spotted, so that's gonna be the plan. Um, are you going to run out of cell battery?

PALMER: Yeah, I think we are. We only have a little bit left. It keeps beeping at me.

DISPATCH: O.K. No landmarks, about 10 miles east of Steamboat.

PALMER: Ten miles east of Steamboat resort. The resort.

DISPATCH: So you went over the first mountain tops?

PALMER: Southeast, southeast. Southeast. We came up...we were trying to go through a pass, to gain altitude, but we couldn't make it up all the way.


PALMER: All right?

DISPATCH: I'm thinking it may be like Gore Pass if you headed south out through the valley and then trying to get over the first mountain range

PALMER: I don't know, I don't know. I'm not the pilot -- the pilot's hurt. It hurts....oh (expletive), it hurts. You need to get somebody out here quick. This is starting to really (expletive) hurt.

DISPATCH: O.K., well we're trying but we're going to need to get somebody up in the air to try to locate you guys.

PALMER: You sure you can get a signal on the locator or not?

DISPATCH: We're on the other line with the FAA right now

PALMER: Can they find us? Can they find us? .... Oh, (expletive) me. I think my leg is broken. Can they get a fix on us or not? We need to know. Hurry. We're going to run out of battery

DISPATCH: O.K., well I'll go ahead and let you off the line and hopefully that will be enough to, you know, you can call back.

PALMER: I'll call you back in 5 minutes, O.K.?

DISPATCH: O.K., that will work.

PALMER: All right. Bye



Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.