|Editions | myCNN | Video | Audio | Headline News Brief | Feedback||
Aspen Plane Crash: All 18 Aboard PerishAired March 30, 2001 - 6:32 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JASON CARROLL, CNN ANCHOR: We want to update you on a developing story that we've been following all morning long.
LINDA STOUFFER, CNN ANCHOR: That's right. Investigators in Aspen, Colorado have spent the entire night sifting through scorched, twisted wreckage from a plane crash. A charter plane crashed there last night, killing all 18 people aboard.
Now, for the very latest on this, we want to take you straight live to Aspen. We go to CNN national correspondent Mike Boettcher, who is standing by.
Well, Mike, what can you tell us now?
MIKE BOETTCHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Linda, we're waiting for daybreak so investigators can go in there and have light and be able to try to figure out what occurred. We're told by the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office here that the bodies of the victims are still at the site. They're covered there by tarps.
There are only small pieces of the aircraft remaining. The aircraft crashed right along Highway 82, between Highway 82 and the Aspen Airport. And so there were many eyewitnesses, because it's a busy thoroughfare that leads into Aspen. There was even amateur video taken right after the crash showing the fireball and the flames that occurred when that plane impacted.
Now, eyewitnesses say they saw the plane, saw it was in trouble, looked like it had a nose-up attitude. It was flying into here in some bad weather. There was moderate snow and low visibility. Take what you're seeing now in front of me, this snow, and double that, and that's what they were flying through.
This is not an easy airport to go through. It's very difficult because there are mountains on three sides of it. We'll talk about that more later.
Now, the airport -- the aircraft, the Gulfstream III, began its flight plan at Burbank Airport. It stopped at Los Angeles International Airport and then proceeded here to Aspen. It was owned by a company called Airborne Charter, which is part of the motion picture company called Cinergi. And one of the factors of this whole crash is: Who was on board the plane? This is a town that sees many of the rich and famous flying in here. The fact that the aircraft was owned by a motion picture company has a lot of people interested on who was on board that aircraft. At 7:00 this morning Eastern Time, there will be a press conference by the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office. And they will provide more information about what happened. We do not know if they will release the names of the victims at that point -- Linda.
STOUFFER: Mike, a quick question for you just on that front. Do authorities have a good manifest themselves? Do they have a list that they can trust about who was on the plane?
BOETTCHER: I don't know if the authorities here have that list yet. I talked to some of the people who were taking calls. And some of the people at Pitkin County Sheriff said there were calls from Los Angeles from people who said they knew people on the aircraft. I would suspect that what Pitkin County has is what L.A. can provide them, what the charter company can provide them. And that's something they would go after immediately, I'm sure.
STOUFFER: And, Mike, another question for you: I know you talked about how this airport has some issues with it, some things that make it very difficult. I know you're a pilot. Anything strike you about this airport in Aspen?
BOETTCHER: Well, it's -- you know, in bad weather, Linda, it's a one-way airport. That means there's one way in and one way out, because you have mountains on all sides, on three sides, except for the north side. So you make an approach to the airport from the north side -- an instrument approach -- and you also take off in that direction.
And that's the way it's done in weather, because you're kind of in a valley here. And it's very difficult if you have to make a go- around to do that. And that could be one of the complicating factors with the aircraft. If, for example, the pilot saw that he was not on the right glide slope, it would be very difficult to make a go-around, knowing there are mountains around here and that you have no visibility.
STOUFFER: Good to get some perspective from a pilot -- Mike Boettcher, thank you very much for the latest from Aspen. We appreciate it. Thanks.
And, of course, we should mention that, at this point, investigators really don't know what could have caused this to go down.
CARROLL: That's right.
STOUFFER: But they will be looking at weather, of course.
CARROLL: And Dave Hennen actually has been looking at what the weather was like during the crash. He joins us now live to fill us in on what he has found.
Good morning, Dave.
DAVE HENNEN, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Good morning. You had some interesting weather in and around the crash time. We'll have to pinpoint the exact moment of the crash. That will be critical to investigators, because the weather during that time was highly variable.
We put the icon here of where the airport is located there in Pitkin County, just to the southwest of Vail. It is located, by the way, just north of town. And you can see some scattered snow showers were in the area at the time, about seven minutes before Central -- or before Mountain time, 7:00 p.m. Mountain Time. The weather was not bad: 10 miles-plus of visibility.
But at 12 minutes after 7:00, local time, we did see the weather deteriorate quite rapidly, down to visibilities less than two miles. So sometime in that timeframe is when the plane crashed. Exactly whether it was weather related, that's what the investigators will check very closely over the next coming days.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com
|Back to the top|