LARIMER COUNTY, Colo — The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating a small plane that buzzed low over boats on a Northern Colorado reservoir before crashing, the board said Wednesday.
The pilot and a passenger aboard the single-engine plane survived the crash Sunday with minor injuries, the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. The agency said it's supporting an investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration and asked the public to share photos and videos of the event.
Photographer Stephanie Stamos was near the banks of Horsetooth Reservoir, just west of Fort Collins, Colorado, on Sunday night preparing to take high school photos for a student when she saw the plane flying “unsteady” over the water.
Stamos, 57, said she instinctively pulled up her camera and started snapping photos, believing the pilot was in trouble and preparing for a crash landing. But instead of hitting the water, the plane flew toward a boat on the lake, swinging low over the craft as one of the boat riders threw up their arm, the photos show.
“The wheels were almost on top of the boat,” Stamos said.
When the plane disappeared behind the mountains, “I told everyone, ‘Wait for the boom,’” she said, then “I saw it fly back up through the mountains going sideways and I thought, ‘Oh this guy is an idiot, this guy's just messing around.’”
Stamos said she shared her photos with the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office and that the NTSB reached out to her Wednesday asking for the same pictures.
Peter Knudson, spokesperson for the National Transportation Safety Board, said the agency is investigating the Sept. 11 crash but declined to provide any details.
Carolina de la Torre had just finished swimming in a cove at Horsetooth Reservoir when the plane flew over. She said the aircraft got within 15-20 feet of her and her friends.
“We thought they were going to crash down on [the other boat]," she said. "It was the most nuts experience I’ve ever had.”
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