On Tuesday, June 17, 2024, at approximately 4:23 p.m., a U.S. registered aircraft N245T, a twin-engine Cessna 421C, crashed near Steamboat Springs/Bob Adams Field (SBS) in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The aircraft struck the ground in a southerly direction just southwest of Runway 34, in the West Acres Mobile Park. The pilot and the only passenger died. While the crash caused a fire that destroyed residential buildings, there were no serious injuries to persons on the ground.

Our hearts go out to the families of the passenger and pilot.

While the NTSB and FAA have not released any significant information, it does appear that the flight had a problem that caused the aircraft to divert to SBS. The original flight was planned to be from Vance Brand Airport in Longmont, Colorado, to Ogden-Hinckley Airport in Ogden, Utah.

Approximately 40 minutes after takeoff, while en route at approximately 16,250 feet and just southwest of Phippsburg, Colorado, the aircraft turned right 90 degrees north of the planned flight route and proceeded directly to SBS. Nearly equal distant from SBS was Yampa Valley Airport near Hayden, Colorado, a much larger airport with a control tower and 10,000-foot runway. The distance between the two airports is 16 miles. This diversion was apparently due to reported engine problems.

As the aircraft approached SBS, it descended to 14,775 feet and flew directly over the airport, heading 21 degrees. It then proceeded north, turned left, and flew northwest where it flew in a rough semi-circle and eventually turned back south while maintaining at least 14,000 feet.

The aircraft then started to descend on a southwest heading but eventually turned 270 degrees while northwest of the airport in an apparent attempt to line up with runway 14. During a sequence of turns toward the airport the descent rate of the plane exceeded 2000 feet per minute, and sometimes greater.  The aircraft then flew over the runway, apparently unable to land. It was at approximately 7500 feet, while the runway is at 6882 feet.

N265T continued to descend and fly south past the south end of runway 14, where it crashed into the mobile home park. Some witnesses reported that the engines did not sound right as the plane was descending. Another reported that the plane was spiraling before it hit the ground.

The flight does not appear to be a commercially operated flight, as the FAA pilot data base reflects that the pilot held a private pilot certificate, not a commercial certificate. N245T was owned by a business associated with the pilot, called High Country Aero, Ltd. Requisite reports for the company had not yet been filed with the Colorado Secretary of State in 2024.

Based upon the available facts known to date, including the flight data information, it appears that N245T suffered some type of mechanical problems which affected operation of at least one of the engines. This caused a diversion to SBS. It is anticipated that air traffic control records will shed much more light on this. In addition, assuming that any suspect parts were not destroyed in the accident or post-accident fire, a wreckage inspection may show exactly what failed on the flight. However, at this early stage it is too early to give any opinions as to the cause and any contributing factors to this accident.

ALG attorneys have experience flying many light multi-engine aircraft including the Cessna 421 in Colorado and Wyoming. ALG attorney Robert Hedrick used to practice law in Denver and tried numerous cases there. He also attended airframe and powerplant mechanic school at Colorado Aero-Tech, which was located at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport in Jefferson County. ALG attorneys are currently working on many multi-engine aircraft accidents, including accidents related to single-engine power reduction.