Marble plane crash kills one |

Marble plane crash kills one

Chad Abraham and Gary Hubbell
Carbondale Fire Chief Ron Leach tries to figure out how a plane crashed on a road outside Marble Wednesday. The pilot, who was the only one on board, died in the accident. Photo courtesy Gary Hubbell.

A man was killed Wednesday when the single-engine plane he was flying crashed near a small airstrip just outside Marble.John P. Kramer, 78, of Washington, Mich., was the only person on board. The Taylorcraft BC12-D fixed-wing plane went down around 1:30 p.m. when Kramer was trying to land at the grass runway a half-mile outside town.

The aircraft overshot the runway, applied power, then stalled, according to a statement from the Gunnison County Sheriffs Office. The plane came to rest upside down on County Road 3, which runs through the tiny hamlet in the Crystal Valley. Kramer, whose son was reportedly watching, was apparently killed on impact.Dave Jones, owner of the town’s general store, said he saw the plane in the air.”He made a couple of passes. I’m sure it was him,” Jones said. “The last time, he cut the engine speed way down. I just figured he was going in for a landing.”

He said he did not see the plane crash. Rescue crews from Gunnison County and Carbondale righted the plane and extracted Kramer. Rescuers tried to resuscitate the victim.The elevation of the airstrip is about 7,600 feet; the strip is bordered by 13,000-foot peaks on three sides. But experienced mountain pilots say landings and take-offs are relatively easy.The runway is owned by Bob Conger of Denver, who opened the field for pilots to use for summertime vacation getaways. It was featured last summer in Pilot Getaways magazine as a bush fly-in destination.

Despite its remote location, the airstrip is occasionally visited by pilots over the summer, with as many as 50 planes landing on it at various times over the summer. The strip is generally smooth and well-maintained.Kramer was flying in from the east in fair weather. The accident closed the county road, which is the only route in and out of Marble, and vacationers and residents were stranded on either side of the crash site.Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board were en route Wednesday evening.


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