Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Grand County The two victims in last week's airplane crash near Kremmling owned a vacation home in Dillon and used the Kremmling Airport regularly to reach it.
Floyd Brooks Williams, 51, president of Brooks Corp. LLC, and his wife Diane Lynn Williams, 51, a registered nurse and medical administrator, died in the Sept. 18 crash while en route from their Las Vegas home.
According to Grand County Sheriff Rod Johnson, the Williams owned a vacation home in Dillon in nearby Summit County and frequently visited it by flying to Kremmling's McElroy Airport. He verified this information with the
daughter of the victims.
The Williams owned a car that was left at the airport, which they used whenever they flew in for a visit, Johnson said. Checking the vehicle's license plate and registration, he confirmed that it had a Dillon address.
Johnson also reported that a team of aircraft crash investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reached the crash site Friday afternoon. After inspecting the site, the federal agency had a contractor recover all the wreckage of the twin-engine airplane and take it to an NTSB hangar in Greeley for analysis.
Although an official report into the cause of the accident is not expected for several months, Johnson said the NTSB investigators at the site expressed "similar observations that we made" about the crash.
"Looking at the evidence, they said the plane made an unusually steep descent," he said. "They said it looked like it hit vertically and hit hard."
The crash site is two miles west of Kremmling in a hayfield on the edge of an irrigation ditch. Although the aircraft exploded and burst into flames upon striking the ground, the wreckage was concentrated in a relatively
small area. The aircraft was found lying upside down in the hayfield. Johnson said the steep angle of the aircraft's descent as it crashed was obvious. One of its two engines was found partially buried in the ground at
what appeared to be a 45-degree angle. When the NTSB investigators lifted the other wing, they found the second engine completely buried in the ground.
According to flight records, the Williams had departed from the North Las Vegas Airport at 5:10 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time in a twin-engine Piper PA-60 Aerostar rented from BDW Equipment Leasing LLC of Las Vegas. Their
flight plan had an expected arrival at McElroy Field in Kremmling at 7:13 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time.
For reasons not yet determined, the aircraft crashed while attempting to land at Kremmling's McElroy Airport about 8:25 p.m. Eyewitnesses in Kremmling said the aircraft circled the town at least once. They said it
sounded as if it was experiencing engine trouble.
The explosion and fire in the hayfield alerted residents to the accident. Kremmling police officers rushed to the scene, followed quickly by members of the Kremmling Fire Department, Grand County EMS, Grand County Sheriff and
Grand County Coroner's Office. In addition to the two people killed in the crash, the bodies of two dogs were also found in the wreckage.