Editorial: Aspen steps up in time of crisis
As tragic as Sunday’s plane crash was, we can rest assured knowing that Aspen-Pitkin County Airport was in capable hands thanks to the emergency responders whose brave efforts thwarted the potential for a much graver disaster.
Within minutes after the 22-seat Bombardier Challenger 600 crash-landed on the Aspen runway, fully engulfed in flames and turned upside down, responders from the Aircraft Rescue Firefighting Team extinguished the fire.
One co-pilot was killed and two other pilots were injured. No other passengers were onboard.
“I have no doubt based on my experience and from what I’ve heard that that action alone single-handedly probably saved two people’s lives,” said Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo at Monday’s news briefing at the airport.
Other responders came from the Aspen Police Department, Aspen Ambulance, Aspen Fire, Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, Snowmass Wildcat Fire Protection and Basalt Fire Department.
On Tuesday morning, the airport re-opened to private and commercial aircraft, after closing Sunday due to the 12:23 p.m. crash.
While our local emergency workers are to be commended for their efforts, our local transportation and lodging officials deserve recognition as well, as this tragedy came during one of the busiest times of the ski season. The three commercial airlines that serve Aspen provided shuttles to the airports in both Grand Junction and Denver. Aspen and Snowmass lodges also lowered their rates for passengers stranded because of the crash.
This space is limited to praise all in the community who stepped up in this time of crisis, as we’re sure there are many stories we won’t hear about and won’t be publicized. But as a community, we should take none of these heroic and selfless efforts for granted.
It’s yet another reason we call Aspen home.