Three die in plane collision near Boulder |

Three die in plane collision near Boulder

P. Solomon Banda
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
Investigators survey the scene of a midair accident northeast of Boulder, Colo., Saturday, Feb. 6, 2010. The Federal Aviation Administration says a plane towing a glider and another aircraft collided in Colorado, killing at least two people. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

DENVER – An airplane towing a glider collided with another plane Saturday afternoon in Colorado, sending the aircraft crashing to the ground and killing at least three people, authorities said.

One of the aircraft clipped the towline of a plane that had been pulling a glider, Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Laura Brown said.

The glider disconnected from the plane just before the second plane hit the tow rope, Boulder County sheriff’s office spokesman Rick Brough said.

“The two planes did collide, they caught fire midair and fell to the ground,” he said.

The glider landed safely – with no injuries to anyone on board – at a nearby airport just after the planes made impact, authorities said.

An amateur video shot at the scene showed a plane on fire, floating to the ground trailing thick, black smoke and a parachute.

One witness, Christian Sterner, said he saw two big balls of flames, including one attached to a parachute that fell slowly to the ground.

Brough said the parachute was designed to assist one of the aircrafts and was attached to plane wreckage, not a pilot or passenger.

Other witnesses reported smoldering wreckage in at least three areas on the prairie north of Boulder, which sits at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Aquina Rogers, a worker at a storage facility in the area, said she could see a wing in one of the wreckage fields.

NTSB field investigator Jennifer Rodi said the accident happened three miles northwest of Boulder Municipal Airport at about 1:30 p.m.

“We understand the glider went through a fireball after the impact,” she said.

The three dead came from both of the planes that crashed, Brough said. Authorities we’re trying to confirm how many people were flying in the planes.

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