STEVEN K. PAULSON
Associated Press Writer

ASPEN, Colo. (AP) _ A private airplane crashed Thursday near an airport in this ski resort town, killing at least 17 people, authorities said.

A flight plan for the Gulfstream jet listed 18 people aboard, and 17 bodies were recovered after the crash, said Joe DiSalvo, a spokesman for the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.

Eyewitnesses saw the airplane go down northwest of the airport shortly after 7 p.m. Wreckage was strewn over about 100 yards.

Madeleine Osberger, who was driving on a highway near the airport, said she saw the airplane in what appeared to be its final approach before it crashed.

“Maybe two minutes later, I turned the corner and saw flames,” said Osberger.