ASPEN, COLO., FEB. 13 -- A Learjet with at least three people on board crashed and burned tonight just short of an airport in a light snow, authorities said.

Skitch Rounsefell, patrol director for the Pitkin County Sheriff's Department, said the plane was carrying eight to 10 passengers. But sheriff's Deputy Bruce Benjamin, who was at the scene, said only three people were on board.

"I don't know how many people were inside, but nobody lived through this," Pitkin County Coroner Steve Ayers said.

Rounsefell said the plane was a Learjet 35 and was on its way to Sardy Field near the Snowmass ski resort. It crashed about a half mile short of a runway on a mesa across the Roaring Fork River from the airport, witnesses said. The plane slid through snow about 200 yards, lost its wings and left a trail of debris before it burned, they said.

"He {the pilot} was going real fast. He stood it on one wing and then hit with the right wing," said Colorado state patrol trooper Bruce Berry, who saw the crash.

The pilot was on an instrument approach, Rounsefell said. "The plane broke into pieces and was totally engulfed in flames," he said. "To our knowledge, there was no radio traffic regarding an emergency."

Rounsefell said he had the identification number of the plane, but was withholding details until relatives could be notified. He said the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board had been contacted.