ASPEN, Colo. — Witnesses were stunned to see a low-flying plane attempt a landing in a snowstorm at this posh ski resort, moments before the twin-engine jet crashed in flames, killing all 18 people aboard.

Investigators worked their way through a hillside littered with scorched wreckage Friday and recovered the bodies of the victims.

The airport reopened just after dawn Friday. Officials parked buses along Colorado 82 to block the wreckage from the view of passing motorists.

The chartered Gulfstream III, approaching landing on a flight from Burbank, Calif., rammed into the hillside Thursday night before diving across a culvert and striking another bluff just short of the runway at Aspen-Pitkin County Airport.

Coroner's officials began removing the bodies of the victims before dawn, but it could be two days before they are positively identified and relatives notified, Pitkin County Sheriff Bob Braudis said. When asked whether any celebrities were aboard the plane, Braudis said he did not recognize any of the passengers' names on the flight manifest.

Two of the victims were identified as employees of KTTV-TV in Los Angeles, a Fox Television affiliate. KTTV said Mir Tukhi, an assignment editor, and Marisa Witham, a researcher, were on the plane. Neither was on the flight for business reasons, the station said.

Arnold Scott of the National Transportation Safety Board said the cockpit voice recorder was recovered Friday morning.

Greg Reszel, a tourist from Indiana, told KCNC-TV the plane was traveling so slowly he thought it was a helicopter. He said it lurched and appeared to stall. Even before that, he told CBS' "The Early Show," he thought the visibility was so poor because of falling snow that he told his father, "Man, I wouldn't want to be trying to land that."

Al Kassa, who was traveling on the same road, told KCNC the plane was traveling about 50 feet over his car when it passed and then crashed.

"The noise was just so loud," he said. "And then I just saw it going straight into the ground at about a 30-degree angle, and then it just blew up. I've been in a state of shock for the last few hours."

Said another witness, Ron Harding: "We heard a loud boom and saw a large fireball. We saw debris scattered down one hillside and up the other hillside.

"There was fire everyplace. It was just a terrible scene," Harding told KCBS-TV in Los Angeles.

Fifteen passengers and three crew were on board, said Allen Kenitzer, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman in Seattle. All 18 bodies were recovered, authorities said.

Marc Foulkrod, president of Avjet Corp. in Burbank, Calif., which manages the jet for its owner, said Avjet caters to corporate clients and people in the entertainment industry but declined to say who was on the flight.

"We are in the process of notifying the families of these individuals," Foulkrod said. "Our deepest and most heartfelt concern goes out to all of the families."