Mid-air plane collision claims three lives

BOULDER: Two small planes collided in flames over northern Colorado and killed all three people aboard, but a glider under tow by one aircraft cut loose and flew through the fireball to safety, officials and witnesses said.

Three people were aboard the glider that managed to disconnect from a Piper Pawnee as a Cirrus SR20 clipped the tow line an instant before the two planes collided, Boulder County sheriff’s office spokesman Rick Brough said.

Both aircraft plummeted towards the ground but the glider landed safely with no injuries to any on board. “We understand the glider went through a fireball after the impact,” NTSB field investigator Jennifer Rodi. The crash occurred about 1:30 pm on

Saturday near the

Boulder Municipal

Airport over a suburban area dotted with homes and businesses, but no one on the ground was injured.

Several people witnessed the accident, including two who described people falling from a plane.

“We heard a loud bang and looked up in the air and we saw what looked like a glider and big, black smoke right next to it,” Paul Aiken told Boulder’s Daily Camera.