published Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Pilot crashes plane into former home north of Denver

In this photo provided by North Metro Fire Rescue District, a house catches fire after a plane crashes into it Monday, May 5, 2014, in Northglenn, Colo.
In this photo provided by North Metro Fire Rescue District, a house catches fire after a plane crashes into it Monday, May 5, 2014, in Northglenn, Colo.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

NORTHGLENN, Colo. — First, the pilot who crashed into a home near Denver escaped unharmed and tried to put out the resulting fire with a garden hose.

And in another surprising twist, Brian Veatch used to live in the home a decade ago. But so far the location of Monday's crash looks like a coincidence.

Veatch told KMGH-TV that he didn't realize the house he hit was the one where he once lived until someone pointed it out to him.

Peter Knudson, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, said Veatch had taken off from a small airport nearby and headed to fly a banner over the stadium during a Colorado Rockies game. Knudson said that soon after he took off, Veatch reported he was having trouble gaining altitude. He ditched his banner, but he continued to have difficulty climbing, Knudson said.

"He was actually turning back toward the airport when it crashed," Knudson said, adding the NTSB was still investigating what caused the climbing problem.

The man who hired Veatch, Tom Mace, said the pilot and veteran firefighter crashed upside down and didn't realize it was his old house. Mace, who said he talked to Veatch late Monday, said Veatch doesn't know the young couple who lives there now.

"It was one of those twists of fate," Mace said.

No one was home at the time of the crash.

Mace said the plane lost power. "It was a catastrophic reduction of power to where he was unable to keep the plane up," he said.

Veatch was already back at work at the South Metro Fire and Rescue District on Tuesday, but he declined to be interviewed.

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