Posted by: harrisonjones | July 6, 2017

Miracle on Buffalo Pass

My previous blog described the beginning of a new book project, and after nine months, I can now discuss the conclusion of that work. The book will be titled Miracle on Buffalo Pass, and as previously promised, it documents a true story told in the words of those who were there.

MOBP Front Cover Final

On the evening of December 4, 1978, Rocky Mountain Airways Flight 217 departed Steamboat Springs, Colorado bound for Denver with twenty-two souls on board. Less than an hour later, the flight was forced down on Buffalo Pass at an altitude of 10,500 feet when it encountered severe icing conditions and unforecasted downdrafts created by the winds of a mountain wave. The tragic accident triggered one of the most intense search and rescue efforts in Rocky Mountain history.

I should explain that the project was conceived by Kelly Coleman, a young lady who was born long after the incident on Buffalo Pass. Kelly is the daughter of Gary and Debi Coleman—Gary was the first officer on Rocky Mountain Airways Flight 217 and narrowly survived the accident. When Kelly contacted me and began telling the story, I was intrigued and knew there were many questions that needed to be answered. Kelly introduced me to her father and Gary and I connected on so many levels right away. We visited the crash site near Steamboat Springs last October and have been collaborating for the past nine months. With a little research and a lot of detective work we were able to get in touch with many of the passengers, search and rescue folks, medical personnel, law enforcement officers, Rocky Mountain Airways employees, and others who saw a need and volunteered to help in the rescue. To date, I have interviewed more than thirty individuals who have graciously told their story for publication.

I’ve had the privilege of meeting people of great courage; men and women of unbound determination; unassuming heroes; highly dedicated law enforcement officers; doctors and emergency medical personnel willing to go far beyond a job description to save lives; skilled aviation professionals; and others who just volunteered themselves and whatever resources and equipment they owned because their character would not allow anything less. The people I have interviewed for this book have inspired me, not as a writer, but as a human being. I am indebted to each of them.

Many of these people will join me on September 23, 2017 for the official book release gathering hosted by the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum in Denver. The museum features an exhibit of artifacts from Flight 217.

Wings Book Signing 3

Coming soon, I will be posting pre-publication excerpts from the book as well as when it will be available in paperback, Kindle, and Audible editions.


  1. Hey Harrison, The cover looks incredible! You’ve got to be excited about September. I truly believe this book will become a best seller and I can’t think of a better story to make into a movie. Linda and I wish you all the luck in the world. Let me know if there is anything else I can do to help. Please keep me posted.


    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

  2. Thank you, Richard. I appreciate your support as well as the great artwork. All the best to you and Linda.

  3. Very much looking forward to reading your (and your contributors) book.
    Thank you for following the inspiration to write this story. lsp

    • Lee, it’s an honor to tell the story for such a wonderful group of people. They deserve a lasting legacy. Thank you for commenting.

  4. Hi Harrison, My name is Chris and I manage Off the Beaten Path Bookstore in Steamboat Springs. Your book was brought to my attention and would like more information about it. And how to carry it in our store and maybe have an event here for you. Thanks,

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