"The crash didn't affect the airport," Airport Manager Scott Brownlee said. "We have two runways, so we still have one that's operational."
Flights were landing and taking off as usual, with passengers milling around in the terminal unaware that a fatal crash had occurred a few thousand feet away.
The airport is equipped with two runways.
The CL-601 Challenger crashed on take off shortly after 10 a.m., killing two and injuring another three passengers (see related stories, pages 1 and 2), and leaving a third passenger missing. The two fatalities have been identified by the Montrose County Coroner's office as Luis Alberto Polanco Espaillat, 50, of the Dominican Republic, and Warren T. Richardson III, 36, from Coral Gables, Fla. The coroner's office said both died on impact.
Wreckage from the aircraft closed the airport's shorter runway, Brownlee said. He added that the affected runway is 7,500 feet long, and the longer runway is 10,000 feet long.
"It's just a bad, bad deal," Brownlee said about the crash. "And what make it worse, it was on a holiday weekend."
Because it was a holiday weekend, and with Telluride Ski Area opening on Thanksgiving, the airport was busy, but not packed like it will be later this winter, Brownlee said.
CL-601 Challenger jets are regular visitors to Montrose Memorial Airport, Brownlee added, saying two similar planes took off directly after the accident.
– Dale Shrull