updated 10/22/2008 3:51:58 PM ET 2008-10-22T19:51:58

Two small planes carrying a total of six people collided over western Colorado on Wednesday, but both landed safely and no injuries were reported, authorities said.

"This is truly one of those miracles," said Allen Kenitzer of the Federal Aviation Administration. "Usually with a midair collision you have very serious damage and very serious injuries, if you have survivors at all."

One of the planes was a Mesa County Sheriff's Department single-engine Cessna 210 carrying two inmates, a deputy and a pilot. The other was a single-engine Cessna 180 with two people aboard.

The sheriff's plane landed at Grand Junction Regional Airport and the other in a remote area about 10 miles south of the airport. Grand Junction is about 240 miles west of Denver.

Sheriff's spokesman Chuck Warner said the inmates were being transferred to the custody of the state prison system. The plane had taken off from Grand Junction, he said, but he didn't know where it was headed.

The plane made a hard landing back at the airport and suffered front-end damage either from the collision or the landing, the sheriff's office said.

The other plane came to rest on its top amid sagebrush and scrub oak at the foot of the towering Grand Mesa. A medical helicopter crew spotted it, landed and determined that both people who were aboard the plane were all right, Warner said.

They were being taken to a fire station in the nearby town of Whitewater.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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