Nightly News | January 05, 2014
>>> that dangerous cold in a moment. authorities can you be firm one person is dead and two others hospitalized after the crash of a small plane in aspen, colorado . authorities say the plane flipped over and burst into flames at the aspen- pitkin county airport where landing can be extremely tricky. nbc's leanne gregg joins us.
>> reporter: among pilots, aspen has long been known as a difficult place to land. especially in the winter. all day in colorado it has been snowy and blustery. moments after impact, a plume of smoke filled the air. a private plane crash at the aspen airport in colorado claimed one life, sending the two other passengers aboard to the hospital. witnesses inside the terminal saw it all.
>> we all just looked out the glass window . i saw in the air, it didn't even look like a plane. it was a fully engulfed fire ball coming in and literally, it came in and dropped to the ground on the runway.
>> reporter: when rescue teams reached the twin engine jets, smoke was pouring from the fuselage. comedian kevin nealon was there tweeting. horrible plane crash here at aspen airport . exploded into flames as it was landing. i think it was a private jet . singer laeann jet also there. a horrible crash. the 1994 canada air jet originated its flight in mexico but stopped first in tucson before heading to aspen. its flight path showed the pilots circled the airport at least once, calling into traffic control.
>> missed approach. november 1 -1-5 whiskey fox. 33 knots tail wind .
>> reporter: it was snowing. wind gusts topping 30 miles an hour.
>> okay to return back and do another approach. we've had a tail wind of 30 knots.
>> reporter: the plane circled back but something went wrong.
>> it was coming in from the side, fully engulfed. i was just like, wow. you couldn't even tell it was a plane.
>> reporter: early reports indicate there was no may day call.
>> proceed to the downed aircraft.
>> reporter: tonight the ntsb is sending investigators to the scene. the search for clues in a deadly crash. the survivors remain hospitalized. one in serious condition. the other suffered minor injuries.