A mother and three children were among the five people killed in a fatal crash north of Denver Sunday.
Tori Rains-Wedan, 41, and her sons 15-year-old Mason Wedan and 11-year-old twins Austin Wedan and Hunter Wedan were on board the small plane when it crashed near the Erie Municipal Airport. The pilot was identified as Rains-Wedan's friend, 67-year-old Oliver Frascona. A dog on board was also killed.
Rains-Wedan reportedly owned a company that offered classes to real estate agents. When Frascona wasn't flying, he was a partner at a real estate law firm in Boulder.
"Everyone on that plane touched the lives of many. The law firm mourns their tragic death. May they all live on in the memories of those that loved them,” said Jon Goodman, a partner at Frascona, Joiner, Goodman and Greenstein. Goodman and Frascona worked together for more than two decades.
The Piper PA-46 crashed just before noon Sunday at the near the Erie Municipal Airport. Witnesses told sister station KCNC that they heard the plane engine sputtering, and that the plane looked like it was trying to land when the crash occurred. The National Transportation Safety Board confirmed that Frascona was trying to land, but told KCNC it was too early in the investigation to say whether the engine noise witnesses reported contributed to the crash.
“We’re in the preliminary stage of collecting the facts. Until we can analyze the facts, we can’t comment on that,” Courtney Liedler with NTSB said. “We have not taken any factors out of consideration, so we’ll be looking at man, the machine and the environment."
The NTSB said that during the attempted landing, the landing gear was stowed.
The NTSB's preliminary report is due sometime in the next five to 10 days. The wreckage has been moved to a salvage yard in Greeley to be investigated for clues.
Frascona's neighbor said he watched the plane take off, and everything appeared fine.
"Everything looked good and normal," Tom Van Lone told KCNC. Van Lone and Frascona live across the street from each other, and near a runway at the airport.
The Associated Press said that Sunday's crash added to a growing list of plane crashes that have occurred at the airport in Erie over the past few years. The most recent one to involve a fatality occurred in May 2011.
Erie is about 20 miles north of Denver.