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Sun, Feb 07, 2010

Cirrus and Piper In Midair Collision Over Boulder

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 parachute system.

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 wreckage locations.

"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.



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