CASTLE ROCK - The pilot of a single engine, home-built Glasair plane is in stable but serious condition after hitting power lines and crashing close to a residential neighborhood on Monday night. Dense fog and icing conditions existed at the time of the crash.
"I think the big thing for investigators is the weather and the type of information she had, and the decision that she made flying in weather conditions, that for most of the day here in Denver, had been pretty poor," 9NEWS aviation expert Greg Feith said.
Several neighbors in the Sapphire Pointe subdivision reported hearing the plane flying very low prior to the crash.
"I was working on my daughter's Halloween costume at the kitchen table sewing. I heard the engine of an airplane that was a little close," Jennifer Frieling said.
Close became too close a few seconds later.
"I heard the boom and opened up my curtains," Frieling recalled.
She grabbed a flashlight and went into her backyard to find the tail section of the plane visible in the ravine about 50 yards from her home.
"I went out into the field to see if I could see anything and shined my light into the gulch and saw the tail of the airplane, so I called 911," she said. "I hollered down into the wreckage to see if I could hear anything and got no response. While I was on the phone with the dispatcher, I turned to my right and the pilot's body was laying back and to my right."
She says the pilot was unconscious but breathing. Frieling stayed with the pilot until firefighters arrived. The pilot was transported to an area trauma center.
NTSB investigators are sifting through the plane's wreckage trying to determine the cause of the crash.
"One of the questions for the investigators is why she was flying so low," Feith said.
The plane had departed the airport in Hayden earlier in the day and was flying to Centennial Airport.
"The fact that she is so far away from Centennial Airport and so low to hit a power line, that's a big question. It really lends one to believe she may have been trying to stay visual, that is to try to keep ground reference, and in doing so she got too low and struck the power line," Feith said.
While the power line may have caused the crash, they may also have saved the life of the pilot.
"She's very lucky. When she struck the power line it stretched a little bit before it broke, slowing the airplane down and just causing the airplane to fall to the ground with a reduced energy," Feith explained.
According to FAA records, the plane is registered to Glasair Aviation and was built in 2012.
The name of the pilot has not been released at this time.
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