Parachute Deployed From Smoking Aircraft
ANN RealTime Update, 02.07.10, 0102
EST: ANN can now confirm the following details--the Cirrus
involved was an SR20 G2, N825BC, registered to Robert Matthews of
Boulder, CO . The 1969 PA-25-235, Piper Pawnee's N Number is
N8718L and was registered to Mile High Gliding of Boulder, CO.
The NWS Forensic Report currently reports two dead in the
SR20 and one in the Pawnee. Extensive video shows the
Cirrus under canopy, descending minus at least one full wing and on
fire throughout the descent. The aircraft continued to burn on the
ground and was nearly consumed (about 90%) by the fire, leaving
only the tail assembly somewhat intact. The conditions at the
time of the impact were VFR.
Original Report: At least three people are
reported dead after an early afternoon mid-air collision between a
Cirrus CR20 and Piper Pawnee towing a glider near the Boulder
Municipal Airport (KBDU) in CO. Dozens of witnesses saw the
accident as well as the deployment of the Cirrus' CAPS emergency
File Photo of Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS)"
"I saw a giant explosion in the Northern Boulder sky," Ryan
Kobrick, a PhD candidate at UC Boulder told ANN. "There were
two big fireballs with black smoke followed by a parachute
deploying, also smoking black."
According to FAA spokesman Mike Fergus, a Cirrus CR20 with at
least two people aboard collided with a Piper Pawnee occupied by a
single pilot. The glider landed safely after the incident and is
reported to have flown through the fireball the resulted from the
impact. It is unclear whether the glider was still in tow
when the collision occurred.
File Photo of Piper Pawnee
The Boulder County Sheriff office described the scene as
"chaotic" as authorities were dispatched to three different
"We've got a debris field spread over a lot of area," Commander
Rick Brough, spokesman for the Boulder Sheriff's Department told
the Denver Post. Authorities have not yet determined
how many people were aboard the Cirrus at the time of the incident.
"We know we have bodies in the planes," said Brough. "But the
planes broke apart."
Adding to the confusion are eyewitness reports of people falling
or jumping from the burning Cirrus while it was several hundred
feet from the ground. ANN will continue to update this story
as we get more information.