DENVER (AP) – Federal officials say two planes collided in midair near Denver and were able to land without injuring anyone. According to authorities, the collision between the twin-engine Fairchild Metroliner and the single-engine Cirrus SR22 occurred Wednesday when both planes were ready to land at a small regional airport in suburban Denver. According to Key Lime Air, the stern of the Metroliner was severely damaged, but the pilot landed safely at Centennial Airport. Authorities said there were a pilot and a passenger on the other plane, which deployed a parachute and drifted safely down into a field.
Two small planes collided in mid-air near Denver, nearly tearing one plane in half, and forcing the other’s pilot to parachute. Notably, both planes landed safely and no one was injured, officials said.
Both planes were preparing to land at a small regional airport in suburban Denver on Wednesday when they collided, according to the National Transportation Safety Board and South Metro Fire Rescue.
“Each of these pilots must buy a lottery ticket now,” said John Bartmann, deputy sheriff of Arapahoe County. “I don’t remember anything like that – especially not everyone who goes away. I mean, that’s the amazing part of it. “
In an audio clip from KDVR TV, the Key Lime Air pilot asks air traffic control for an immediate landing and explains an engine emergency, unaware that the aircraft was almost split in half after the collision.
“Looks like the right engine has failed, so I’ll keep landing here,” said the pilot.
June Cvelbar told KUSA TV that she witnessed the collision while walking in a state park.
“I saw two planes in the sky. I saw a larger green plane that I thought was a tow plane along with a glider being pulled by it. I heard a noise but didn’t notice that the two planes had collided, “she told KUSA in an email.
Cvelbar said she saw the green plane depart and shortly after saw the smaller plane deploy its parachute. She said she initially thought it was a training exercise.
“When I realized the little plane was crashing, I ran towards it. The pilot and his passenger were on their way, ”said Cvelbar.
Shelly Whitehead told KCNC-TV that she was in her kitchen when she heard a loud bang that sounded like a bang. She ran onto her patio and saw the parachute deployed plane land in the field behind her house.
“I thought, ‘Is it someone just jumping off a plane?’ And then I realized the parachute was attached to an airplane, “she said.” I was sure they couldn’t make it there.
The pilot was the only person aboard a twin-engine Fairchild Metroliner that landed at Centennial Airport even though its tail section was badly damaged. The aircraft is owned by a Colorado-based company, Key Lime Air, which operates cargo planes.
A pilot and passenger were on the other aircraft, a single-engine Cirrus SR22, which deployed a red and white parachute and drifted down to a safe landing in a field near homes in Cherry Creek State Park, Bartmann said.
Both Key Lime Air, a passenger and cargo charter company, and Independence Aviation, a flight school and aircraft rental company that owns the Cirrus aircraft, are located outside of Centennial Airport, one of the busiest general aviation airports in Colorado.
Independence Aviation announced that they rented the Cirrus SR22 2016 aircraft on Wednesday and the pilot successfully used an airframe parachute system developed by Cirrus Aircraft to slow the aircraft’s descent after a collision.
“We are currently allowing the NTSB and FAA to conduct their investigations,” said a statement from Derek Severns of the Cirrus Platinum Training Center, a pilot training center.
The authorities did not immediately identify the people who were on the planes.
The National Transportation Safety Board announced on Twitter that it is sending personnel to investigate. Key Lime Air will cooperate with the investigation, the company said in a statement.