Couple rescued after plane goes down in Flat Tops in Garfield County
A husband and wife from Colorado Springs were rescued Saturday afternoon after their small plane made a forced landing in the Flat Tops Wilderness several miles north of Glenwood Springs near the Devil’s Causeway and McGinnis Lake area.
The plane, a Cirrus four-seater, went down on a bitter cold day in the far northeastern section of Garfield County, west of the town of Toponas on Colorado 131.
The Rio Blanco Sheriff’s Office said in a news release that it got a call from the Federal Aviation Administration at 10:24 a.m. saying a plane was down 32 miles east of Meeker — the crash turned out to be about 5 miles farther east.
The two people were in the plane alive and talking with other aircraft in the area, authorities said.
“There was another pilot in the area who spotted them going down, and that’s one reason they were able to get there so quickly to make the rescue,” Garfield County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Walt Stowe said.
Coulter Aviation from Meeker responded and was able to find the exact location of the crash. Due to the terrain of the coordinates provided, ground teams were not sent out and St. Mary’s Care flight from Grand Junction and Classic Air Medical, which has a helicopter at Valley View Hospital in Glenwood, were contacted.
The Colorado National Guard Joint Operations Center also contacted was and a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter was also requested. St. Mary’s Care flight and Classic Air Medical were able to land, extract the couple and take them to Meeker.
Stowe said they were being treated for exposure to the cold. No one else was on board.
Stowe said the location of the forced landing was above 11,000 feet, and the air temperature at the time was minus 18 degrees, not counting wind chill.
The cause of the forced landing was not yet known.
The plane is registered to Russell H. Ford of Colorado Springs, according to FAA records, based on the tail number of the plane provided by Rio Blanco County authorities.
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Pitkin County public health authorities increased social distancing restrictions for residents Wednesday and lengthened the amount of time they will be in place until the end of April.