Two walk away from plane crash at Cortez airport

No serious injuries reported; one person goes to hospital as ‘precaution’

No major injuries were reported to the two people on board a Piper Malibu plane after it crashed at the south end of the Cortez airport Wednesday afternoon. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

No major injuries were reported to the two people on board a Piper Malibu plane after it crashed at the south end of the Cortez airport Wednesday afternoon.

Two people involved in a small airplane crash at the Cortez Municipal Airport Wednesday afternoon walked away from the wreckage virtually unscathed.

“There were no serious injuries,” said Montezuma County Undersheriff Linda Carter.

However, one of the two aboard was transported to the hospital, “as a precautionary measure,” Carter said.

According to Carter, both people involved in the crash were pilots, and one was undergoing a recertification process and practicing “touch-and-go” landings at the time of the crash.

“Something went wrong,” she said.

The airplane, a 1999 Piper Malibu, sat on the runway Wednesday surrounded by airport and county officials.

Carter said there was a small fuel spill, and the scene would be secured until investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board arrived. The NTSB investigates all airplane crashes.

Cortez Mayor Karen Sheek said emergency fire crews were quick to respond to the scene, adding that they performed their duties professionally.

“Both passengers walked away with only minor injuries,” said Sheek. “That’s what’s important.”

Wednesday’s 4 p.m. Great Lakes Airlines flight into Cortez from Denver was canceled, but City Manager Shane Hale said commercial operations had resumed by 7 p.m. Wednesday.

On scene just after noon on Wednesday, Hale speculated high winds may have played a role in downing the lightweight aircraft.

“It was really windy,” said Hale.

Hale didn’t have an exact number, but said the crash was not the first to occur on the city’s airfield.

The two people on board this plane were checked out by medical personnel and released after the Piper Malibu plane crashed at the south end of the Cortez airport Wednesday about noon. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

The two people on board this plane were checked out by medical personnel and released after the Piper Malibu plane crashed at the south end of the Cortez airport Wednesday about noon.

The propeller is mangled after this Piper Malibu plane crashed at the Cortez airport. The two people on board were checked out by medical personnel and released. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

The propeller is mangled after this Piper Malibu plane crashed at the Cortez airport. The two people on board were checked out by medical personnel and released.