Estes Park, CO Crash of Maule M4 Aircraft Kills Two, Aug 1977

Two Vancouver, Washington, residents, pilot Martin Ryan, aged 23, and Janet Bonneville, 19, died in a crash approximately one mile southwest of Willow Park on The Fall River Road on August 16, 1977. In newspaper accounts, Chief Ranger Dave Essex stated that the couple had been visiting friends in the Denver area and left Jefferson County Airport at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday. The plane was a Maule, a two-seat, single engine aircraft. Several climbers directly across the drainage, along with ranger Milton Madden, witnessed the crash. They stated that the plane flew westbound toward Fall River Pass. It did not circle to gain altitude, but flew directly toward the pass. As it approached the higher altitudes, it seemed to slow considerably. Several witnesses thought the pilot attempted to land on the Fall River Road. Unfortunately, a wing clipped a tree, forcing it hard to the left and the plane crashed into a rock and caught fire on impact. The likely factors contributing to the accident were the fact that the plane was flying too low and had insufficient power to lift it over the ridge and unfamiliarity with the terrain by the pilot. The plane may have been overloaded. Aging baby boomers probably remember the novelty of Coors Beer outside the state of Colorado. Maybe Ryan planned to surprise his friends with a gift, which unfortunately may have contributed to the fatal crash.

- - Death, Despair and Second Chances in Rocky Mountain National Park, by Joseph R. Evans

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Obituary:
Martin Hugh Ryan, a 12-year resident of Vancouver, Washington, died Tuesday, August 16, 1977, when the single-engine plane he was piloting crashed near Estes Park, Colorado.
Mr Ryan was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Ryan of 410 SE 94th Ave, and worked as an ambulance dispatcher for the American Ambulance Co. in Vancouver.
He was born May 17, 1954, in Powell River, B.C., Canada.
He attended Lieser Elementary School (now the Vancouver Early Childhood Center), McLoughlin Junior High School and Hudson's Bay High School. Flying was his hobby.
He is survived by his parents, at home; his sister, Joyce Young, Vancouver; and other relatives in England and Canada.
Memorial will be 11 a.m. Saturday at Columbia Presbyterian Church, with the Rev. LaVern Brassard officiating.
His parents as that no flowers be sent.
Cremation will be in Colorado, and the remains will be placed in Evergreen Memorial Gardens in Vancouver, Washington.

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Martin Ryan was a member of the Vancouver Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol, then in the Oregon Wing. Martin died the same day Elvis Presley died.

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Martin was piloting a Maule M4, N4132C. The accident happened about 6:30 PM on Tuesday, August 16, 1977. The accident report indicated the pilot was attempting to out climb rising terrain. The crash site is about 10300 feet msl, near Estes, Colorado.