BROOMFIELD COUNTY, Colo — A witness who watched the takeoff of a single-engine plane that crashed less than a minute later in a Broomfield neighborhood described strange noises coming from the engine
Two people were killed in the crash of the Piper PA-32-260 that departed from Erie Municipal Airport at about 11:45 a.m. on May 22. The crash happened in the area of Anthem Ranch Road and Las Brisas Drive, just south of the airport. No bystanders were injured, and no homes were damaged.
They were identified as 50-year-old Robert Devon Williams and 59-year-old Lee Russell King by the Adams County Coroner's Office. Both were pilots with private licenses, according to Mike Folkerts with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
It was the second fatal single-engine plane crash this month in Broomfield. There was no correlation between the two crashes, Folkerts said.
A witness who saw the plane take off said they heard noises they described as "carburetor coughs," Folkerts said.
No witnesses saw the crash, and there was no video of the crash, Folkerts said.
As part of its investigation, the NTSB will examine the plane debris and engine and download data from the plane's avionics system, he said.
Investigators will also examine six propeller strikes on the road, Folkerts said.
The NTSB will issue a preliminary report on the crash within 10 days. The final report will be completed in about 12 months, he said.
North Metro Fire Rescue told 9NEWS a neighbor called in the plane crash around 11:50 a.m.
“We’re fortunate that there weren’t more injuries that were sustained by bystanders on the ground,” North Metro spokesperson Sara Farris said. “Also, the plane crashed in an area that didn’t damage any homes nearby, too, which is pretty miraculous.”
North Metro Fire could not share any information about the victims. Their names will be released by the coroner's office.
Chris Roarty is the HOA president of the neighborhood just south of Erie Municipal Airport. She told 9NEWS they have an aviation committee to address safety concerns with planes from nearby airports flying low in the neighborhood, since this isn’t their first crash.
“We had another crash a couple of years ago in the middle of that open area, and this is a little bit-- it’s way too close to our homes, and hopefully our voices will be heard a little bit more maybe,” Roarty said. “So we’re concerned about the safety, sometimes the noise, also but the safety is certainly foremost in our minds.”
As investigators search for answers, Larry Pace is asking questions. He’s a pilot who’s flown out of the Erie airport for more than a decade and a former chairman of the Front Range Airport Authority.
"This is supposedly a clear zone for aircraft. My biggest concern is that this clear zone has been obstructed by trees," Pace said. "The trees make it more dangerous for the pilots to take off and land. The trees are an impediment that will kill you."
Sunday morning, Pace was at the airport in Erie. He said he ran into the two people who lost their lives and was talking to them about their plane before they took off.
"This hits hard for me because I just talked to the two gentlemen this morning," Pace said. "They had just put in some brand new avionics. They were getting ready to go out and check those avionics out."
The Federal Aviation Administration was also assisting with the investigation.
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