Authorities ID victims of Colorado plane crashes
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
DENVER – Two men who were killed in a small plane crash north of Denver were an instructor and a student, and investigators are trying to determine whether their plane clipped another aircraft that crashed near an airport minutes later.
Longmont police Cmdr. Jeff Satur said Saturday that 30-year-old instructor Ryan Brungardt, of Strasburg, and 64-year-old student Edward “Lee” Omohundro, of Evergreen, were killed when the Cessna 172 they were in crashed just before noon Friday about a half-mile from a Walmart in southeast Longmont, close to two homes. Satur said it remains unclear who was piloting the plane when it crashed.
The pilot in the second crash – reported six miles away and about five minutes after the first crash – was identified as Beverly Cameron, 72, of Erie.
Authorities said Cameron was about a thousand yards from the Vance Brand Airport runway in Longmont when her Cessna 180 clipped four overhead power lines and crashed into a nearby fence. Though the engine completely separated from the rest of the plane on impact and the body of the aircraft was crushed and mangled, Cameron suffered only minor injuries and was released from the hospital Saturday morning.
“It actually probably saved her because those lines reduced the impact into the ground,” Longmont police Cmdr. Tim Lewis said.
A nursing supervisor at the hospital said Cameron did not want to speak to the media.
Satur said representatives with the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration were at the crash sites Saturday and were investigating whether the single-engine planes collided midair before they went down.
“Right now, based on witness accounts, everything appears to be heading that way, but it’s still unknown for sure,” he said. “Until they get all the evidence together, piece that evidence together, they won’t be able to confirm that yet.”
Tom Ruddick, a 26-year-old employee for an oil field services company who was working nearby, said he saw two planes that appeared to be about 300 yards apart heading toward each other. He said he briefly looked away before he heard and felt what he believes was the shock wave from one plane hitting the ground.
“It almost knocked me off my ladder,” he said, adding that the other plane – piloted by Cameron – looked like it was having difficulty flying.
“It looked like he had no engine, like he was trying to pull up but he couldn’t,” Ruddick said.
Satur said autopsies on Brungardt and Omohundro were expected to be completed Saturday, and investigators eventually will load the planes onto a flatbed trailer and transport them to a hangar. The manufacturers of the planes’ engines and airframes also were expected to join the investigation.
“Today, they’re just trying to reconstruct what happened, and that’s going to be a long process,” Satur said.
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