LOVELAND PASS, Colo. (CBS4) - A small plane crashed Monday morning on Loveland Pass and killed three people.
Smoke from a small fire sparked by the crash was visible from Interstate 70 near the entrance to the Eisenhower/Johnson Tunnels.
The crash happened at approximately 8:45 a.m. on the east side of the pass, near the beginner area of Loveland ski area, an area known as Loveland Valley.
Witnesses told officials with the Clear Creek Sheriff's Department the plane was trying to head up the valley towards the pass where Highway 6 goes when it apparently didn't have enough power and made a sharp bank and then crashed in a heavily wooded area.
"We had to take all terrain vehicles in at first and then we were able to work with the Loveland ski valley people and find a different route in to get one of our all-terrain engines in from the fire authority," Clear Creek Sheriff's spokesman Capt. Randy Long said.
The sheriff's department said they were having trouble determining what the tail number of the plane was because the plane, a Piper PA-28-235, was so heavily damaged by the crash and the resulting fire.
It's been determined that the plane took off from Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport and was headed for Moab.
"Our investigators and the coroner have been able to recover three deceased parties from the plane crash. We do not have identification on any of those people," Long said.
The fire was contained by noon. The burn area was described as being about 40 square yards.
A representative from the National Transportation Safety Board was scheduled to take over the investigation into the crash sometime Monday afternoon.
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