No injuries in 'hard landing' at Aztec airport

NTSB has not launched an official investigation into the incident, according to an agency spokesman

Steve Garrison
Authorities investigate a plane crash on Wednesday at the Aztec Municipal Airport.

AZTEC — A male pilot and a female passenger were not injured this morning after authorities say the pilot lost control of his single-propeller plane while landing at the Aztec Municipal Airport.

The plane barreled through a barbed wire fence and came to rest in a field about 20 yards from the runway.

The crash was reported at about 9:25 a.m.

Aztec Police Department Capt. Troy Morris described it as "a hard landing."

Both the pilot and the passenger declined to provide their names to police or answer questions about the crash, Morris said.

Aztec police Capt. Troy Morris, left, walks away from a plane that crashed Wednesday at the Aztec Municipal Airport.

Morris said the National Transportation Safety Board, the independent federal agency that investigates aviation accidents, has been contacted about the crash, and the pilot was allowed to move the damaged aircraft to a hangar.

“It’s not like a car crash investigation,” Morris said.

NTSB spokesman Terry Williams confirmed this afternoon that his agency was contacted about the crash.

He said NTSB investigators are gathering preliminary information, but an official investigation has not been initiated.

"That can change at some point, but at this point, we are just gathering information," Williams said.

Aztec Municipal Airport manager Michael Arnold was killed at the airport on May 18, 2013, after his single-engine plane crashed during takeoff. The amateur-built plane struck a berm on the right side of the runway, spun 180 degrees and caught fire, according to a preliminary investigation report.

Aztec City Manager Joshua Ray said today that Arnold's son and wife continued to manage the airport until September 2014, when the city took over operations. Ray said he currently serves as airport manager, but Aztec Police Chief Mike Heal responded on his behalf to today's crash scene.

Police investigate a crash at the Aztec Municipal Airport on Wednesday.