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A single-engine aircraft took off from the Buena Vista Airport, on the southern end of Buena Vista on Tuesday afternoon, July 7, and was just becoming airborne when it hit the runway, causing it to burst into flames. The Chaffee County Communications Center received information at 1:37 p.m. that a plane that was on fire at the Buena Vista Airport.

The Chaffee County Sheriff’s Dept. Buena Vista Fire Dept., the Buena Vista Police Dept. and Chaffee Fire responded to the scene. When emergency personnel arrived they learned that the aircraft had taken off and then hit the runway causing it to burst into flames. The plane came to rest just off the runway and the pilot was able to escape on his own.

The pilot, whose identity remains unknown at this time, was transported to Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center by Chaffee County EMS. He was then airlifted to a regional burn center.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) were both notified and will investigate the incident.