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Watch the ASARCO Smokestacks Demolition from the Air

Duke Keith

Two years ago today, I had the privilege of white-knuckling my safety belt in an open-air helicopter cockpit to get the best view anyone had of the demolition of the ASARCO smokestacks.

It was certainly a beautiful morning to blow something up, and an even better morning to see it from a birds-eye perch!

Whether you were for or against keeping them around, the El Paso skyline is forever changed as both ASARCO smokestacks were demolished at dawn. Thanks to Helicopters Anonymous and pilot Deb Rothchild, we got an exclusive aerial view of the event AND an exclusive on why it may have been delayed a few minutes.

The blast to bring down the smokestacks was supposed to happen exactly at 6:45 a.m. MDT, as you can hear from the audio we have of conversations with the air traffic control tower.

Suddenly, three parachutists appeared, riding the air currents near Mt. Cristo Rey. Were they protesters? Were they thrill-seekers? Either way, they drew the attention of the authorities and were the likely culprits behind the demolition team’s delay.

But after they were ruled out as a threat to sail into the blast zone, the go-ahead was given and down went the stacks!

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