Mid-air collision activates Denver, Colorado EDS team

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Soon after the mid-air crash of two planes over Denver, Colorado’s west Highland neighborhood, The Salvation Army’s EDS (Emergency Disaster Services) team was on site, with canteens and personnel serving disaster relief workers and residents.

Both the Denver Fire Department and the Denver Police Department requested Army canteen services. Michael Gelski, metro Denver EDS supervisor, had already contacted volunteer team members and dispatched them to the warehouse to prepare two canteens for service; the canteens were sent to the west perimeter of the northern crash location and to the southern crash location.

Gelski requested the assistance of Jon Wallace (Intermountain Division EDS Coordinator) as an agency representative/liaison with the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) and other federal agencies.

The next morning, Major Alfred Parker, metro Denver social services administrator, mobilized a pastoral care team composed of Captain John Bennett, Envoy Roberta McKinney, and Captain Robert Reardon, who went door-to-door and contacted over 50 households to talk with residents and to identify any needs. Three persons received more in-depth pastoral counseling and prayer.

The aircraft collided at 7600′ altitude, with the Cessna plummeting just yards past the edge of the 13-story Eden Manor apartments, a Baptist-owned complex, where residents are primarily retired older adults. The Cessna landed in the bedroom of a home that was occupied by its residents. A few minutes later an explosion caused by leaking natural gas occurred. Five persons onboard the two aircraft were killed and seven persons on the ground were treated for minor injuries. The southern crash location was only four blocks away from The Salvation Army’s Lambuth homeless family center.

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