Pilot manages to land despite roof being ripped off mid-flight in collision with another plane

The pilot of the second plane deployed parachute attached to the plane and floated to safety

Namita Singh
Thursday 13 May 2021 18:28
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Pilots escape unscathed after mid-air collision between two small planes

Two small airplanes were involved in a mid-air collision on Wednesday near Denver, Colorado, leading one of them to crash in a field, while the other landed safely at the nearby airport despite it being nearly torn in half, with its roof ripped off.

No one was reported to be injured.

“Every one of these pilots needs to go buy a lottery ticket right now,” Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Deputy John Bartmann was quoted as saying by Associated Press. “I don’t remember anything like this — especially everybody walking away. I mean that’s the amazing part of this.”

One aircraft, a Swearingen Metroliner SA226TC twin-engine aircraft operated by Key Lime Air, was arriving from Salida, Colorado when it collided with a single-engine Cirrus SR-22 around 10:20 am.

The Cirrus, which had a passenger along with the pilot, successfully deployed a red and white parachute attached to the plane and floated safely in a field near homes in Cherry Creek State Park. While the pilot of the twin-engine landed at Centennial Airport despite a big hole in the cabinet.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board and South Metro Fire Rescue, both planes were getting ready to land at a small regional airport in a Denver suburb when they collided.

Shelly Whitehead told CBS Denver that she saw the plane come down. “I was in the kitchen and I heard a loud firecracker bang. I ran out (on to my patio). Right when I got here I heard another bang,” said Ms Whitehead. “I saw a plane coming down.”

She further said she could not do much to help as she watched the collision from her patio. “I thought, ‘Is it somebody just jumping out of a plane?’ And then I realised the parachute was attached to a plane,” Whitehead recalled. “I thought for sure they weren’t going to make it out of there.”

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the incident, while Key Lime Air said it will cooperate in the probe.

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