Plane may have crashed in Fryingpan Valley |

Plane may have crashed in Fryingpan Valley

BASALT ” Eagle County authorities, including a search and rescue team from Basalt and El Jebel, are trying to locate a Cessna 182 aircraft that is believed to have crashed in the upper Fryingpan Valley drainage Tuesday.

The Civil Air Patrol is searching by air in the Josephine Lake-Carter Lake area roughly 8 miles east-northeast of Thomasville, according to Scott Thompson, Basalt fire chief and a member of the West Eagle County Search and Rescue. “We sent out a ground team at 3 a.m.,” Thompson said.

Six members of the West Eagle Search and Rescue are on that team and a five-member team from Vail Search and Rescue drove over to the Roaring Fork Valley as well. The teams were at the Thomasville fire station at 9:30 a.m. waiting to move into the rough terrain surrounding the lakes if the plane was located, Thompson said.

The pilot was the lone occupant of the airplane, according to a statement from the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office. The pilot left Rocky Mountain Metro Airport in Jefferson County at about 2:45 p.m. and was headed to Aspen, the statement said. The pilot’s ultimate destination may have been Price, Utah. The last radar contact with the plane was at about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Josephine Lake area. There are 13,000-foot peaks in that area, which is just west of the Continental Divide.

“At this time it is unknown if the pilot is still alive,” the sheriff’s office said in the statement. “The pilot’s name will not be released at this time.”

The terrain is in the Holy Cross Wilderness, so special permission will be required from the U.S. Forest Service to enter the area with mechanized equipment. That permission is typically granted in a life-threatening situation or to retrieve a body. The area around the lakes might not be accessible by vehicles. It is steep and covered in about 18 inches of snow.

This story will be updated as new details become available.

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