Fatal crashes

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Fatal airplane crashes in and out of the Steamboat Springs Airport since 1986

n July 19, 2003 -- A California pilot and a Windsor couple died when a plane crash into Harrison Creek Drainage area. The 1978 Grumman model plane was flying from Steamboat Springs to Fort Collins and did not gain enough altitude to clear Rabbit Ears Pass. Authorities believe the plane started burning upon impact. The plane was so badly burned the engine number was the only piece of identification that could be recovered. The National Transportation Safety Board continues to investigate the crash.

n Dec. 29, 2002 -- One woman died and three passengers were injured when a plane crashed into the Harrison Creek Drainage. The plane came to rest upside down and the wings had been sheared off. The pilot, Lloyd Skip Moreau, said the Piper Cherokee Saratoga was caught in a downdraft. In a 911 call, one of the passengers said the plane did not have enough altitude to clear the pass. The NTSB full investigation has not been completed.

n May 5, 2001 -- A FedEx pilot died when his plane crashed into a ridge on the south side of Emerald Mountain. The Cessna 208B crashed about 1.5 miles from the navigational tower on Emerald Mountain and was heading into the Steamboat Springs Airport. The NTSB ruled the plane inadvertently stalled while approaching the airport, which resulted in the pilot losing control of the plane. The NTSB said equipment trouble diverting the pilot's attention, icy conditions and the pilot's inexperience with icy conditions in this model airplane all contributed to the crash.

n Sept. 3, 2000 -- Two men died when one of two planes performing a fly-by for the rodeo fell to the ground in a flat spin and landed about 300 yards from the Ramada Vacation Suites on Hilltop Drive. With its nose pointed to the ground, the plane rotated three times before crashing, witnesses stated. Joseph Gunnels of Aurora was the pilot and Lynn David White of Steamboat was the passenger. The NTSB ruled the pilot inadvertently entered into a spin and was not able to recover.

n July 5, 1999 -- Two Steamboat residents, Richard Yeager and Cindy Hines, died when Yeager's single engine Pitts S-2B crashed during aerobatic stunts. The plane crashed 100 yards south of Lafarge Corp on Colorado Highway 131. Witnesses said the plane climbed into the air to do a hammerhead stall, where the engine is stalled deliberately. The airplane descended from stall and started spiraling to the ground. The plane could not recover from the spin. The NTSB ruled the plane was too low for the pilot to make a safe recovery from the aerobatic stunts.

n Sept. 4, 1992 -- Two died when a twin-engine Beechcraft slammed into the ground in a clearing along the Harrison Creek Drainage area, across U.S. Highway 40 from Dumont Lake. The NTSB found the pilot, David Klausner of Longmont, was told flight using visual flight rules was not recommended because of a nearby line of thunderstorms. The NTSB ruled the pilot became disoriented and lost control of the airplane.

n Jan. 4, 1992 -- Three people died and six were injured when a Cessna Golden Eagle did not gain enough altitude when taking off and crashed in a ravine along Slate Creek, about 100 yards away from Routt County Road 44 and about 400 yards from the runway. All nine of the passengers were from Minnesota. In its ruling, the NTSB said the eight-passenger plane was 258 pounds over its maximum load and the pilot's certification was expired. The agency also said ice on the airframe contributed to the accident.

n April 5, 1989 -- Local businessman Terry Bentley died when his airplane crashed in the mountains on a flight from Steamboat Springs to Fort Collins. Reports had Bentley's Cessna 182 flying low over Cameron Pass. It was found two months later in the Rocky Mountain National Park after extensive searching. Weather reports and pilot observations said winds were up to 90 miles per hour. The NTSB ruled the cause of the accident as a failure to stop the flight when bad weather arrived and failure to maintain adequate altitude to clear the mountains.

n Nov. 29, 1986 -- Five people died when a plane took off from Bob Adams Field, headed east, but failed to gain enough altitude to clear Copper Ridge. The six-passenger Beechcraft Bonanza crashed 1 1/2 miles from the airport. The victims were Randy and Mary Kay Bacchus and their three children, all from St. Paul, Minn. The NTSB ruled the pilot did not gain proper altitude and misjudged the clearance needed.

-- Information taken from the National Transportation Safety Board

accident reports database and the Steamboat Pilot & Today archives

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