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Airport Cameras Capture Fiery Footage of Fatal Aspen Jet Crash


Grim new airport footage shows infrared video from several angles.

New footage from this month's Aspen, Colo., airport plane crash has been released, and the videos have already given investigators better insight into what may have caused the fatal incident.

In response to a Colorado Open Records Act request, the Aspen/Pitkin County airport released video of the jet crash that occurred on Sunday, Jan. 5.

The video was captured by five different cameras normally used by airport officials to monitor activity on the ramps, or aprons, outside the general aviation and commercial aviation terminals, Aspen Journalism reported.

The N115WF jet is seen here just a few feet above the ground after bouncing off the runway during takeoff. Seconds later the jet impacted the runway in a fatal crash. (Image source: Vimeo)

Aspen Journalism reported:

In the upper left-hand corner of the video from Camera 1, it appears as if the engines on the Challenger CL-600 jet were revved up just before it was about to touch down.

On the audio recording of the communication between the pilots of N115WF and the airport control tower, a voice can be heard saying as the plane comes in for its final approach, "Go around, go around."

A screen shot of the Aspen camera footage shows two men on the left side of the screen reacting to the grim crash in front of them. The infrared videos even captured some of their heartbreaking emotion, showing one man kicking an object behind him after seeing the crash. (Image source: Vimeo)

The distressing videos even captured two men reacting to the crash, seen at the clip's 1:50 mark. One man reacts to the shocking scene by kicking a nearby object.

The video feeds from five infrared cameras show the jet's engines firing just before touching down. The plane then bounces hard off the runway and shoots back into the air for several seconds before crashing into the runway nose-first.

The jet bursts into flames after the hard impact, and the flames appear to have shot several hundred feet into the sky. The video also shows a rescue vehicle quickly responding to the crash.

Of the three pilots on board N115WF, one was killed and two were injured. One of the injured pilots was released from the hospital, and one remained in critical condition as of last week, the Aspen Daily News reported.

The initial National Transportation and Safety Board report gives some insight into the moments before the fatal crash:

According to preliminary information from the Federal Aviation Administration, the flight was in radio contact with ASE air traffic control (ATC). At 1210, N115WF utilized the localizer DME-E approach into KASE. ASE ATC reported winds as 290º at 19 knots, with winds gusting to 25 knots to the crew before landing. The crew executed a missed approach, and then requested to be vectored for a second attempt.

The camera feeds used to capture these shots are typically used to help airport operators keep an eye on aircraft ground traffic, including vehicles and people, so the shots are not pointed directly at the runway.

There is no audio in the clip, and the infrared cameras make heat appear as white light.

(H/T: Aspen Journalism)


Follow Elizabeth Kreft (@elizabethakreft) on Twitter.

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