Boulder County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a mid-air collision. At 8:54 a.m. on Saturday, September 17th, the Boulder County Communications Center got several emergency phone calls reporting two planes had collided mid-air.
Sheriff’s deputies, Colorado State Patrol, Rocky Mountain Fire Rescue, and Boulder Rural Rescue responded to the area of 10,000 Niwot Road, and found two separate crash sites. The National Transportation Safety Board has confirmed that a Cessna 172 collided with a Sonex Xenos aircraft. A Xenos is a light, aluminum, low-wing, two seat homebuilt aircraft.
At the first crash site on the southside of Niwot Road, first responders found a destroyed plane. They were able to confirm there were two passengers on board, and both were deceased.
At the second crash site on the north side of Niwot Road, the downed plane was in a copse of trees. First responders confirmed one passenger in that plane, also dead at the scene.
Names of those who died have not been released, but all three were adult men from the Front Range area.
One of the planes went down about 100 yards from Jeff Wolcott’s home. He was home having his morning coffee, and reading the paper when he said he heard the planes engines.
“Then a loud ‘pop’…a few seconds later louder ‘pop’ and then crash,” he told CBS Colorado’s Brian Maass.
Wolcott called it hard to process.
“Life is so short. How fast it can happen, just like that,” he said.
Cary Hayes was home watching cartoons with his two daughters and one son. He has lived outside of Longmont for about four years. His home is about equi-distant between the two crash sites.
“We heard a loud ‘pop’, then my neighbor texted me..he saw the planes hit mid-air right over our house,” Hayes told Maass.
Hayes said that the crash sounded like a gunshot – a loud popping sound.
“It’s surprising it could happen on a beautiful, sunny morning like today,” he mused.
Hayes called it “super scary” and “hitting very close to home.”
Roads are closed at 95th and Niwot Road, and Highway 287 at Niwot Road.
The investigation into exactly what happened is still ongoing. The Federal Aviation Administration is also investigating.