Pilot accused of buzzing boaters before crash criminally charged

DENVER — A pilot who allegedly buzzed low over boaters before crashing his small plane near Horsetooth Reservoir on Sept. 11 of last year is now facing charges, the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office announced Monday.

The Larimer County District Attorney’s Office is charging Ahmed El-Kaddah, 35, with five counts of menacing and six counts of reckless endangerment—all misdemeanors.

Although the suspect has been charged, El-Kaddah is not in the country. The sheriff’s office said it has learned the 35-year-old left the US shortly after the incident and has not returned.

The Horsetooth Reservoir incident occurred around 7 p.m. and involved a Cessna 172. The crash happened near the Sawmill Trail, west of the reservoir.

Two people in the plane, including El-Kaddah, sustained minor injuries.


Larimer County Sheriff’s Office

However, before the plane went down, witnesses told investigators that the Cessna was flying recklessly toward several boats in the reservoir.

The small plane then turned west toward the mountains and crashed, the sheriff’s office said.

The Larimer County Sheriff’s Office said both federal aviation agencies determined the crash was not due to “mechanical malfunctions or anomalies.”

“The NTSB report also indicated that the statements provided by the pilot were inconsistent with the recovered flight data,” the sheriff’s office said in a news release.

“The fact that someone would show such reckless disregard for the lives of others is concerning, but it’s even more disturbing on a date that holds so much pain and significance for our country,” Larimer County Sheriff John Feyen said in a statement.

Anyone with information about El-Kaddah’s location may contact Investigator Tyler Thomas at (970) 498-5167.

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