Wedding Party Witnesses Fatal Crash
The search is on for the pilot and four passengers aboard a Socata TBM 700 that crashed in a southern Colorado reservoir in front of a wedding party Saturday. The TBM was on its way from Bartlesville, Okla., to Montrose, Colo., and crashed in the Ridgway Reservoir in 60-90 feet of water. No names have been released and the aircraft is registered to an Alabama corporation. Authorities have said they don't expect to find any survivors. The aircraft was based in Gadsden, Ala., and local media are reporting that children were believed to be aboard. Gadsden is about 60 miles north of Birmingham. A candlelight vigil was planned for Sunday night in Gadsden. The crash happened about 2 p.m. just as Steven Vining and about 100 others were gathering at a home overlooking the reservoir for the nuptials of two of their friends.
Vining told The Watch that he and his fellow guests first heard engine and prop noises "like what you'd hear at an airshow" before the aircraft came out of the low cloud deck, clearly in trouble. "I thought he would point the nose down to get some speed, but he was in a flat dead spin, around and around like a pie plate," he told the newspaper. After several of the guests reported the crash to 911, the minister officiating at the wedding led them in prayer for those on board and carried on with the ceremony. "We saw a fatality, and then, within a few minutes, witnessed two people enter into holy matrimony. It was a really eerie feeling," Vining said. The tail section of the aircraft separated and was recovered and divers are being brought in to hunt for the remainder of the wreckage.