As of 10 p.m. on Monday night the runway of the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport was cleared of wreckage from a fatal aircraft crash on Sunday that shut down all operations. Within the first 24 hours of the incident well over 100 personnel from public safety, local government, and the private sector were participating in response efforts.
Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board arrived in Aspen around 9:30 p.m. Sunday but were unable to investigate the interior of the wreckage until late Monday afternoon. During the day Monday, airport operations repaired damaged runway lights and signage and carefully swept the runway of all remaining debris. There was no significant damage to the runway surface.
Jet fuel containment efforts were conducted by a hazmat crew, with assistance from fire personnel, before investigators were able to board the wreckage. Hazmat crews will continue cleanup efforts to mitigate environmental impacts.
When the wreckage was stabilized and deemed safe, NTSB officials boarded the plane and executed components of the investigation which needed to occur before the wreckage could be moved. Two priorities were recovering the cockpit voice recorder, commonly referred to as the black box, and deactivating the emergency locator transmitter (ELT).
Once critical components of the investigation were complete the local incident management team coordinated efforts to load the wreckage onto a flatbed trailer using a crane and a large tow truck. The aircraft was initially rolled over onto it’s undercarriage to create a more stable position for loading it onto the trailer. The loading operation took from approximately 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Crews were out of the field by 10:30 p.m. and the remainder of the NTSB investigation will continue off site at their discretion. Determining of the cause of the crash are expected to take 12 to 18 months.
Normal airport operations will resume as airlines are able to coordinate scheduling and staffing needs. Please contact the airlines for detailed flight information.