Engine Failure May To Be Blame For Deadly Crash

Engine failure may be to blame for Monday"s deadly plane crash in Montrose. That's the word from the National Transportation Safety Board as they continue their investigation. County Coroner Mark Young identified the two men who died as 61–year–old Aspen Architect David Gibson and 65–year–old Rifle Flight Instructor Larry Smalley. However, Young says on autopsy still needs to be performed. Gibson had recently purchased the turbo–prop Beechcraft plane and officials say the two men were seen getting into it at 8:30 Monday morning in Rifle.

According to authorities the two had been practicing "touch and go" maneuvers at Montrose Regional Airport shortly before the crash. Young says Gibson called into the airport at 9:53 saying he was departing from runway 31. Minutes later, his plane crashed in a residential neighborhood. The plane apparently clipped some trees above a home and nose–dived into a parked semi. The coroner says Gibson and Smalley were killed on impact, no one on the ground was injured. Some witnesses say they didn't hear the plane's engine before it crashed, while others say they had heard its engine stall as it flew over downtown Montrose. The autopsy for both victims is scheduled for Wednesday.