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Tue, Jul 05, 2011

Denver Weather Downs C182, Blows Down Hangar

Officials Say Microbursts Are The Most Likely Explanation

A pilot flying a Cessna 182 on a aerial photography mission near Denver, CO, was fatally injured last Wednesday afternoon when severe weather moving through the area apparently caused the airplane to impact the ground.

NOAA Image

The plane went down in a residential neighborhood just outside of Thornton, CO, west of Denver. Witnesses said there were thunderstorms in the area, and that there were microbursts, strong vertical downdrafts, associated with the storms. The Denver Post reports that a witness told television station KUSA that the pilot appeared to be attempting to land when a wind gust caused one wing of the plane to "completely (flip) up and he nose dived into the ground." There was a post-crash explosion and fire.

The aircraft was registered to Julair LLC, which is a aerial photography company. Shortly after the accident, departures at Denver International Airport were suspended due to the weather. The Associated Press reports that the Adams County coroner has identified the pilot as 41-year-old Salil Sinha of Marshfield, WI.

The paper also reports that weather caused havoc at Burlington-Kit Carson County (KITR) airport east of Denver, where a hangar was destroyed by what meteorologist David Floyd described as a "classic microburst event." Photographs show several badly-damaged airplanes under piles of rubble that used to be the hangar. The extent of the damage has not yet been fully assessed.



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