Two light planes collided mid-air near Centennial Airport, Denver, on Wednesday, May 12. Initial reports indicated two planes collided over Cherry Creek State Park south of Belleview and Peoria around 10:25 local time. One plane crashed while the second landed safely at Centennial Airport. There were no injuries.
A Cirrus SR-22 collides mid-air with a Key Lime Air Metroliner II
According to The Aviation Herald, the two aircraft involved were a Key Lime Air Swearingen SA-226TC Metroliner II (registration N280KL ) and a private Cirrus SR-22 (registration N416DJ). The Key Lime Air aircraft had one pilot onboard, and the Cirrus SR-22 had two people onboard.
The Aviation Herald reports the Key Lime Air aircraft was on a visual approach to Centennial Airport’s runway 17L. The pilot was cleared for approach and passing through 6,400 feet around three nautical miles north of the runway’s threshold.
The Cirrus aircraft was cleared for a visual approach to runway 17R. The pilot was made aware of the Key Lime Air aircraft coming in on the parallel runway. As the plane passed through 6,400 feet, three nautical miles north of runway 17R, the Cirrus overshot the centerlines of both runway 17R and 17L.
At this point, the two planes collided. The Aviation Herald report indicates the Cirrus aircraft struck across through the fuselage of the Key Lime Air plane just above the wings taking out the whole cabin section at that point. The Key Lime Air pilot declared an emergency, telling local ATC the right-hand engine had failed and a parachute had deployed from the other aircraft.
Video sent to us by Alan Rodriguez shows the Cirrus SR-22 that crashed floating down to the ground with help of a parachute. We have new statements from the NTSB, FAA and Key Lime Air in our updated story: https://t.co/euc54B2nJM pic.twitter.com/vfl1DAcOXP
— Denver7 News (@DenverChannel) May 12, 2021
Lucky escape for occupants of both planes
Images of the damaged Metroliner suggest its pilot had a fortunate escape and demonstrated considerable skill in getting the plane onto the ground and walking away. Audio recordings reveal a very cool and collected Metroliner pilot declaring an emergency and ATC scrambling to clear other traffic around the airport.
Arapahoe Sheriff’s Deputy John Bartmann told Fox Denver, “You expect a lot worse. This was amazing.”
Apparently this metro got sliced in half by a Cirrus this morning and lived to tell. pic.twitter.com/FHtW0Ci6Dr
— Ryan Spellman (@JustJettingThru) May 12, 2021
Photos posted online show the Cirrus ended up on its belly in a field. Both occupants of the plane were uninjured. The Cirrus SR-22 was owned by Independence Aviation, a training school based at Centennial Airport.
UPDATE: Initial reports indicate that 2 planes collided midair over Cherry Creek State Park property just south of Belleview and Peoria. One plane crashed here with no injuries or fatalities. The second plane landed safely at Centennial Airport with no injuries. Updates to follow pic.twitter.com/ksKhbZo9Fk
— South Metro Fire Rescue (@SouthMetroPIO) May 12, 2021
Cirrus aircraft lands with assistance from a parachute
A Key Lime Air spokesperson said their Metroliner had been “struck by another plane in a statement provided to Denver media outlets.” The Denver-based airline said its aircraft suffered substantial damage to its empennage and tail section.
“We are participating in an active investigation of the incident with the FAA and NTSB. As information comes to light, if authorities deem it appropriate to share with the public, we will do so,” the spokesperson said.
“We cannot express the gratitude we have, company-wide, that no one was injured. We thank all those who have reached out with concern for our company and its people.”
Footage posted online shows the Cirrus floating downwards with the assistance of a parachute. That plane also suffered extensive damage, with reports of debris scattered throughout the area.
Both the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transport Safety Board have launched investigations into the accident and sent personnel to the scene.