Melissa Reeves

A small plane crashed on take off at the Central Colorado Regional Airport in Buena Vista located in Chaffee County, according to the airport’s manager Jack Wyles.

Wyles said the pilot was flying a small, single-engine Mooney plane, when he tried to take off around 2 p.m. on Tuesday. 

The plane crashed and landed on the runway, according to Wyles. It then caught on fire.

Wyles said the pilot was burned in the fire but he didn’t know how badly. He said the man was taken to the hospital and was coherent and talking after the crash.

Wyles said they expect the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to be on-site on Wednesday to inspect the plane and crash site. 

A witness to the crash said he heard the emergency response to the crash Tuesday afternoon. 

“I heard the entire town of fire trucks and tankers heading out of town and I thought, wow, something big is going on,” said J. Cotter. 

Cotter said it looked like the plane had taken off and crashed. 

“The landing gear was up and the door was closed, it made a belly landing,” said Cotter. 

The Central Colorado Regional Airport is just outside of Buena Vista, about 115 miles southwest of Denver. It’s located at an elevation of 7,950 feet and boasts the longest high-altitude runway in Colorado, according to the airport’s website.