RSOE EDIS
Event Report

UTC
Event Description

Vehicle Accident in USA on Saturday, 24 March, 2012 at 04:08 (04:08 AM) UTC.

Description
Two people are dead after two small airplanes collided over the southeast side of Longmont just before noon Friday, sending one plane spiraling to the ground, while the other clipped a power line and crashed near the airport west of town. A Cessna 172 crashed near County Line Road, about three-quarters of a mile south of Colo. Highway 119 in southeast Longmont. A flight instructor and student aboard that plane both were killed, according to Longmont Police Cmdr. Jeff Satur. He confirmed that both were males, but did not release their names, ages or any other information, pending notification of next of kin. The other plane, a Cessna 180, crashed near the city's services building, just west of Airport Road near St. Vrain Road. "It hit right behind our yard," said Jesse Cordova, a city public works employee. "We were cleaning up the yard and one of our co-workers said 'Call 911! Call 911!' I thought one of our employees got injured." Chris Rodriguez, a member of the Longmont Airport Advisory Board, said Bev Cameron, an Erie flight instructor, was the only person in that plane. Cameron, an Erie flight examiner, was treated at Longmont United Hospital and is reported in good condition, according to a hospital spokesperson.

A flight school assistant with Vector Air at the Erie Airport, who would not give his name, also said he believes Cameron was the pilot. At the site of the County Line Road crash, it quickly became apparent to passersby that no one had gotten out. Among the crowd of emergency vehicles, no ambulances were leaving the scene and no helicopters arrived for an airlift. "Oh, my God," one woman said as the realization hit. "I just got chills all the way up my legs." "It just makes your heart go thump-thump, you know?" a man agreed as he watched the scene. The first crash, at County Line Road, was reported at 11:43 a.m. The Airport Road crash was reported five minutes later, just northeast of Vance Brand Municipal Airport. The first plane was based out of Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport in Broomfield, police said, and the one piloted by Cameron was based out of Vance Brand Municipal Airport. Kim Johnson, a pilot who had just finished bicycling along the St. Vrain Greenway with a friend, said he looked up when he heard a plane "throttle up" in the sky above him near County Line Road. At first, he said, it sounded like someone was practicing stalling, but the altitude sounded far too low.

He looked up and saw one of the planes spiraling down, missing part of one wing. The second plane began to slowly circle westbound, he said, and appeared to be missing one of its wheels. "When you see a plane spiraling, it doesn't have a chance," said Johnson, who has flown out of Vance Brand Municipal Airport for 16 years. It hit the ground hard and Johnson hurried over to a police officer parked in the Walmart parking lot, knocking on his windshield so he could tell him about the crash. "What we were surprised at was that there was no explosion," Johnson said. "But we heard the impact." He suspected that one plane may have been in the other's blind spot and that the noise came from one pilot speeding up at the last minute to try to avoid a collision. Jacqui Richart, who lives near the County Line Road crash site, said she and her kids didn't realize anything had happened until she got a call from her husband, who works near the airport, and heard sirens approaching.

"When we came out of our house, we noticed it smelled weird," Richart said. "Kind of like gasoline." About 2 miles west of that crash, Longmont resident Sheri Collard was driving north on Main Street, approaching Ken Pratt Boulevard, when she saw a plane fly low overhead, heading west. "It was extremely low for the section of town it was in. I knew it wasn't right," she said. "It was pretty low, maybe 100 feet. It was extremely low. ... I thought, that's not right. It was at slow speed and seemed unstable." That happened at about 11:45 a.m., she said. Collard said she was heading toward the Walmart on Colo. Highway 119 at County Line Road. There, she saw three fire engines responding with sirens, but did not know what had happened on that side of town. "When you see three engines, you know it's something big." She did not know there had been a plane crash. Longmont Police Cmdr. Tim Lewis said Cameron's plane was approaching the airport from the east when it clipped a power line at Airport Road and crashed and rolled several times before coming to a stop.

National Transportation Safety Board investigators responded to the scenes. Investigators from the FAA and the airframe and engine manufacturers are expected to join the scene Saturday. Longmont Power & Communications equipment was struck by the plane that came down near the airport, spokeswoman Deborah Cameron said. She said 132 customers lost power in the area near the airport. A stretch of County Line Road south of Great Western Drive will be closed until sometime Saturday.

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