The Cessna single-engine plane that witnesses said boaters buzzed at Horsetooth Reservoir in Fort Collins before crashing into the open space of nearby Horsetooth Mountain on Sunday has been removed from the crash site.

The propeller-powered plane was disassembled on site, loaded onto sled-type devices and transported on a trailer on Wednesday, said Steve Gibson, district manager of Larimer County-run open space. It took workers nearly 10 hours to remove the plane. The trails closed since the accident reopened Wednesday evening.

Gibson said the plane crashed near the intersection of Loggers and Sawmill trails.

“He landed in a very small clearing and the plane was pretty much intact,” Gibson said. “There really was no damage to the resource and no one was hurt, so as the plane crashes went, it was as good as it gets.”

Gibson said there was jet fuel that initially leaked but was quickly contained.

The pilot and passenger who walked away from the crash with minor injuries have not been identified, the Coloradoan’s Larimer County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the crash, which happened around 7 p.m. Sunday.

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Stephanie Stamos, owner of Stamos Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, said she was at Sunrise Picnic Area on the east side of Horsetooth Reservoir, preparing to take photos of a high school student, when she and the the student’s mother noticed an aircraft that Stamos described as “not stable”. The two started taking pictures of it.

“He was coming so low on a boat and I thought he was going to crash,” said Stamos, who added that she had a 200mm lens on her camera when she started filming. “Then all of a sudden it stopped and went into a creek, and we were waiting for the sound of a crash because I was thinking, ‘He can’t fly it, let alone land it.’ Then he came back over the mountain and I thought he was just pretending.”

Investigators did not say why the plane was flying low.

She finished the photoshoot and said she didn’t think much about the incident until the next day when a client told her law enforcement was looking for photos and video of the incident.

The Larimer County Sheriff’s Office issued a press release asking the public to submit photos and videos of the plane at

Stamos said she gave her photos to the sheriff’s office.

“I gave them a photo where you could see a guy in the boat with his arms up as the plane buzzed the boat,” Stamos said. “I don’t think they believed how close this plane got to the boats until I showed them the picture of the wheels of the plane almost above the boat.”

Sheriff’s Office spokesman David Moore said the agency received about 30 photo and/or video submissions involving the low-flying plane on Tuesday.

“It was all just super crazy,” Stamos said.

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