Watch CBS News

Plane Goes Down Into Colorado River; Pilot Rescued By Rafters

MESA COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) - Emergency responders in Mesa County say a small plane went down into the Colorado River near the Colorado-Utah state line.

The sheriff's office and the Lower Valley Fire District responded. Details are limited, but the pilot survived, according to the sheriff's office. The pilot was the only person on board and was helped by a group of rafters who saw the wreckage.

TUE0382 ColoradoRiverPlaneCrashWtrunc_frame_3605
Max Meneley (credit: CBS)

"We saw a plane fly through the canyon, and then about 15 minutes later we saw it crumpled up like somebody stomped on a can right at the edge of the water," said Max Meneley.

Officials say the pilot, a 59-year-old man, was conscious and breathing, but had some injuries.

"He was moving around. He was walking, even talked to us, but it was clear he was in shock," Meneley said. "We had him sit down, and got a board off the raft and had him lay down on that because I thought his back might have been hurt."

TUE0379 ColoradoRiverPlaneCrashVtrunc_frame_2
(credit: CBS)

The rafters then managed to call authorities with the cell phone signal they had and told authorities where they would meet them.

That's when the man was loaded onto a stretcher and then on a medical helicopter.

TUE0379 ColoradoRiverPlaneCrashVtrunc_frame_1509
(credit: CBS)

The plane is believed to be a Kitfox aircraft and is reportedly partially submerged in the river.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.