The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the mid-air collision of two planes, said Cmdr. Rick Brough of the Boulder Sheriff’s Office.
“We really can’t tell what happened other than they did collide,” Brough said.
At about 1:30 p.m. CIRRUS model type SR 20 and a Piper Pawnee towing a glider collided mid air about five to ten miles west of the Boulder Municipal Airport, Brough said.
Boulder dispatch then began receiving calls describing a fireball, Brough said.
The two-seated glider cut away from the Piper Pawnee prior to the collision and landed safely, Brough said.
Brough said the three confirmed fatalities were declared at the scene. However the CIRRUS’ four seat capacity indicates the possibility of a higher death toll.
“There are three confirmed fatalities, with the total seats there could have been a possibility of five,” Brough said. “We are following up with family and friends to see how many were in the air.”
The National Transportation Safety Board began investigation of the 115 acre debris field and will continue to search for the cause of the accident tomorrow, Brough said.
“We had searches out marking the debris and right now the search is over because it’s dark,” Brough said. “But it will continue tomorrow and…try to determine what exactly happened.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Rose Heaphy at Josephine.firstname.lastname@example.org.