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Fiery plane crash in Douglas County kills pilot

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. — A small airplane crashed and burst into flames near some homes in extreme northern Douglas County late Wednesday afternoon. The pilot died in the crash according to a South Metro Fire Rescue spokesperson.

The pilot, 53-year-old Dirk Pelley of Kiowa, was the only person on board, police said.

Video from SkyFOX showed debris on fire in a field. The Aurora Police Department responded and said none of the homes were threatened by the flames. Firefighters contained the small fire quickly.

The aircraft was determined to be a Smith Aerostar 601P

The location was south of County Line Road and east of N. Piney Lake Road in unincorporated Douglas County. It’s south of the Blackstone Country Club, not too far from E. Powhaton Road and E. Smoky Hill Rd.

Federal investigators had already arrived on the scene Wednesday evening, and planned to work at the site into the night.

Robb Halley, a witness, told FOX31 Denver the plane appeared to be flying low to the ground, possibly performing stunts. Halley says he started shooting video of the plane. Shortly after he turned the camera off, he says he heard two loud booms as the plane crashed. Halley’s video appears below.

The twin engine airplane flipped upside down before falling out of the sky.

“When I saw this I knew this was going to end bad.” Halley said.

“He was playing with danger. Right at that time I heard one small boom and then a large boom almost like a concussion wave.”

From overhead the footprint of the impact shows only the charred remainder of the plane. The impact narrowly missing the Douglas county neighborhood.

Witnesses describe the explosion as massive.

“I found out it was one single pilot and my heart just drops,” said Rachel Lynch. “From where it went down I thought it was a house.”