Two men dead after private plane crashes east of Aspen near Midway Pass |

Two men dead after private plane crashes east of Aspen near Midway Pass

Ground, air crews located missing plane Sunday evening nearly a day after it left Aspen airport

Two men from New York died in a plane crash east of Aspen on Saturday afternoon, officials confirmed Sunday night.

Searchers located the wreckage and the remains of two passengers near Midway Pass, about 9 miles east of Aspen near the Continental Divide, north of the Lost Man campgrounds, at 5:34 p.m. Sunday evening, according to a news release from the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.

Pitkin County Chief Deputy Coroner Audra Keith presumably identified the plane’s occupants as Ruben Cohen of New York and David Zara of New York, pending results from further post-mortem examination of the remains.

The Pitkin County Regional Emergency Dispatch Center received a phone call midmorning Sunday from a person reporting her friend and his aircraft had departed Aspen in late Saturday afternoon and were overdue in arriving at their destination, an airport in Des Moines, Iowa, the release states.

A Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office deputy coordinated with the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and a plane from the State of Colorado’s Division of Fire Prevention and Control to identify the search area near Midland Pass. Midway Pass tops out at 12,140 feet, and is in the Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness, which is part of the White River National Forest.

Officials dispatched air resources to get a view of the search area around 1:45 p.m., Parker Lathrop, chief deputy of operations for the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, said in an interview Sunday afternoon while the search was underway.

A ground team from Mountain Rescue Aspen worked with a helicopter from the Colorado Army National Guard High-Altitude ARNG Aviation Training Site (HAATS) in Gypsum to locate the wreckage, the release states. All rescuers and resources were out of the field by 8 p.m.

The airport filed a report with the National Transportation Safety Board, Aspen airport director Dan Bartholomew said Sunday afternoon.

The Federal Aviation Association issued an Alert Notice (ALNOT) around 10:15 a.m. Sunday morning advising local public safety agencies that a Beechcraft B36 (also called a Bonanza) was reported missing, according to an emailed statement from the administration.

The distance from Aspen airport to Midway Pass (red dot), where searchers found the plane wreckage and two New York men who died Saturday in the crash east of Aspen.
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