Investigators ask public to turn in plane crash evidence
December 7, 2011
SILVERTON, Colo. – Officials are asking hikers and skiers to turn in any evidence they find from a plane that crashed in the Colorado mountains, killing four people, after federal investigators put debris recovery on hold.
San Juan County emergency services manager Kristina Maxfield said Wednesday there is no way to protect the crash site until the National Transportation Safety Board can return to it. But she said the area is remote, so investigators are not worried about people destroying evidence.
The NTSB said Tuesday investigators are suspending the recovery of debris until snow melts, possibly until summer, while they pursue other leads.
“The crash site is located in a very remote place, but because of the large debris field, there is no way to keep people out,” Maxfield said.
The single-engine plane crashed Saturday near Silverton, killing three bank employees and a fourth person on their way to a Christmas party. The plane took off from Durango and was to land in Aspen.
The crash site is about 11,000 feet above sea level, and the debris was spread across an area that covers 1 1/4 miles.
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San Juan County Coroner Keri Metzler said Wednesday two of the victims have been identified, but it may take several days to verify the identities of the other two people, found Tuesday.
The two people who have been identified are Tyler Black, 24, and Jenna Rich, 26, who were both from Durango and worked for Alpine Bank. Rich was known as Gena Rych, but her driver’s license identified her as Jenna Rich.
Bank president Glen Jammaron said three of the victims were bank employees on their way to a Christmas party in Snowmass Village.
The NTSB said the pilot was not rated for instrument flying. The agency said instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the crash, but investigators did not elaborate.
Witnesses reported hearing the airplane circling over the area before the accident.
It was the second fatal plane crash near Silverton this year. A pilot and passenger were killed in the July 14 crash of a small plane. The cause is still under investigation.