Walden, CO Airplane Crash in Blizzard, Dec 1978
All but one survive in plane down on mountain
Miracle in a blizzard?
WALDEN, Colo. (AP) - Searchers found a downed commuter airliner early today more than 11 hours after it was reported missing in a hear-blizzard high in the Colorado Rockies, and authorities said all but one of the 22 persons aboard survived.
Initial reports from the isolated, windswept emergency landing site above the 7,000-foot level had indicated that all aboard survived.
However, the Jackson County Sheriff's office said later that a radio report relayed from an ambulance crew member at the plane said there was one fatality.
DENNIS HEAP, chief of passenger service for the Denver-based airline said some of the survivors had "broken bones, a few broken legs and arms ..." Doctors at the landing site reported some instances of frostbite.
First word of the plane had come before dawn when six survivors walked to a nearby Ranger station a few miles from the landing site. They helped direct searchers riding small over-snow vehicles back toward the plane.
The fate of the Rocky Mountain Airways flight, en route from the ski resort of Steamboat Springs to Denver, had been unknown since the pilot radioed he was having problems and turning back.
Snowplows were clearing a road two miles from the downed plane so the injured could be removed to nearby hospitals, said Deputy TIM WALSH at the Routt County Sheriff's Department in Steamboat Springs.
The plane, a de Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter, made its emergency landing near the Grizzly Creek Campgrounds southwest of this small mountain town in high winds and snow early Monday night.
When the plane left Steamboat Springs just before 7 p. m., the pilot and co-pilot and 19 passengers expected a 55-minute flight across the Continental Divide to Denver.
The pilot, SCOTT KLOPSTEIN of Denver, radioed 15 minutes out of Steamboat Springs that he was having trouble with ice and was turning back. The signal from an emergency locator transmitter was picked up a short time later by high flying aircraft, but was not positively linked to the missing aircraft until the six survivors reached help.
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