Search Called off for Reported Downed Plane

By: Lauri Martin
By: Lauri Martin

A tourist spotted an alleged plane crash near Windy Point on Pike's peak and El Paso County Search and Rescue was called out. After 268 man hours looking for the reportedly downed plane on the 14er turns out to a false alarm.

Three hours of driving on dirt roads in the pitch black, Search and Rescue called off their search efforts around 4 a.m. By 5:15 this morning, two search dogs and a crew of 10 take to the high country nearly 5 miles from the peak. It all reportedly started when a tourist alerted the COG Railway, saying a downed plane was spotted on the way to the top of the mountain. Steve Sperry with Search and Rescue confirmed with three different sources. "It might've been power of suggestion. One person says, ‘Look over there, what do you see? This is what I see.’ I see it too.’"

Search and Rescue is quickly looking for what could be survivors and realizes by 9 a.m., what was seen as a plane turned out to be a few dead logs. "It was a big old tree trunk that polished by wind, giving it a white, silvery look. There was also a lot of quartz around it, which when the suns hits it, gives it a plexiglass look, like in the windshield of the aircraft."

Sperry said from far away, it looked like a wreckage. You can actually see what was mistaken as the tail end of the plane and what appeared to be the fuselage, which is just the right size of a possible Cessna.

What began as a frantic search turned out to be a phantom plane and an optical illusion.

This phantom plane might take on a new sort of legacy. If you ever take the COG Railway, the conductor points out interesting sights along Pike's Peak. The G.M. of the COG tells me after this, the phantom plane will likely become a point of interest.

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