Plane crashes in Louisville neighborhood while trying to land

LOUISVILLE  -- The investigation into why a small plane crashed down in a neighborhood near Bowman Field is still ongoing. According to the FAA, the plane started out in Rifle, Colorado around 9 a.m. Sunday for the five hour trip. It crashed in the 2600 block of Valletta Road just short of Bowman Field just before 3 p.m.

It was a perfect day to be outside and many in the Seneca Gardens neighborhood near Bowman Field were doing just that.

"I was inside my house and my children were playing in the backyard. We had the doors open," says Phillip Allen.

"I was in the backyard, up on a ladder at the garage," says Robert Forman.

But suddenly, something just wasn't right.

"You see planes flying around here all the time. This guy seemed like he was coming in a little close. So I turned up just to watch it. It looked like he was turning, all of a sudden he came straight down, clipped the top of the trees and then smacked," says Forman.

Allen heard that sound.

"We heard an extremely loud noise, wasn't sure what it was and my neighbor was sprinting down his driveway and we asked him what it was and he said a plane crash," says Allen.

The small, single-engine Cessna landed just feet from the Buck family's house. 9 year old Samantha Buck was inside with her Grandpa.

"It sounded like it was metal crashing down into a tree. And all the flames going up," she says.

Samantha acted quickly and called 911.

"I felt I had to do something," she says. "They said '911, what's your emergency?' and I said there's a plane on fire in our front yard."

Meanwhile, outside a handful of neighbors ran to the scene, including Phillip Allen.

"It was totally engulfed in flames. Both wings were on fire. The cabin was totally engulfed in flames. We all sort of stood around and looked at each other and tried to figure out what to do," Allen said.

Samantha's mother, Mary Buck, who wasn't home when the crash happened, was relieved her family was okay. But she wasn't as shocked about the crash as you might think.

"We are so close to Bowman Field it doesn't especially surprise me, other than it is in my front yard. I'm just glad it didn't hit my house," she said.

FAA officials say the pilot, 68-year-old Richard Shenk of Colorado, was attempting to land at Bowman Field when the crash happened. He survived the crash and was transported to University Hospital. The plane's wreckage was transported to Bowman Field so FAA inspectors can continue to analyze just what happened.

The Cessna 210 Centurion is a six-seat, single engine plane. The plane that crashed is registered to Shenk Aviation, based in Colorado.

According to its flight plan, the plane left Garfield County Regional Airport in Rifle, Colorado -- about 80 miles west of Vail -- at 9:24 a.m. Louisville time. It was due to land in Louisville at 3 p.m.

Report: WAVE3, Louisville