The Larimer County Sheriff’s Office announced today that charges had been filed against the pilot whose plane crashed into Horsetooth Mountain Park this past summer. The crash forced a number of trails to be closed for several days during the investigation and cleanup. The suspect has since fled the country.

Full release is below.

You can read more about the crash via the Coloradoan here.

Via Larimer County Sheriff’s Office:
Charges have been filed against a man involved in a 2022 plane crash near Horsetooth Reservoir.

On September 11, 2022 around 7 p.m., the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office and Larimer County Park Rangers responded to an airplane crash in the area of Horsetooth Mountain. They located a damaged Cessna 172M aircraft and two occupants, who had minor injuries.

Investigators learned that Ahmed El-Kaddah (122787) had been piloting the Cessna at the time of the incident. Witnesses provided statements and footage of the plane flying recklessly toward several boats on Horsetooth Reservoir. Shortly after these incidents, the plane turned west toward the mountains and crashed. Photos and videos provided by the public during the investigation were critical to the investigation (see below).

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) conducted an independent investigation and determined that 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.

LCSO investigators contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation following this incident. The FBI determined that the pilot’s actions did not meet the criteria for federal charges. Investigators presented the case to the Larimer County District Attorney’s Office and the following charges were filed:

Menacing – 5 counts (M1)

Reckless Endangerment – 6 counts (M2)

The 2021 Colorado Misdemeanor Reform legislation narrowed the definition of felony menacing; as a result, threatening immediate serious injury with a vehicle or aircraft is classified as a misdemeanor under current law.

A warrant was issued for El-Kaddah’s arrest, but investigators have received information that he left the United States shortly after the incident and has not returned.

“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,” said Sheriff John Feyen. “The lack of legal accountability is frustrating to say the least, but in this and every case, we’ll continue to support victims and hold suspects accountable within the confines of the law.”

Anyone with information about El-Kaddah’s location may contact Investigator Tyler Thomas at (970) 498-5167. People who wish to remain anonymous may contact Crime Stoppers of Larimer County at (970) 221-6868 or

The charges are merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.

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