Harrowing video footage of a small plane carrying six passengers ‘floating’ safely to ground has surfaced on social media. The pilot of the single-engine Cirrus SR22 engaged an emergency parachute system after suffering engine failure in Brazil. The onboard system likely saved the lives of everyone involved, including a 3-year-old and a newborn.
The party took off from Pampulha Airport in Belo Horizonte on March 11 and almost immediately suffered engine failure. Incredibly, the plane came custom with a Cirrus Airframe Parachute System — a ‘whole-plane’ recovery system that has (so far) saved 249 lives.
“Pilot reported loss of engine power during cruise, attempted return to airport, and activated CAPS when realizing there was insufficient glide range,” the Cirrus Owners & Pilots Association said in a review of the incident.
“The entire crew was conscious, oriented and without apparent injuries,” the Minas Gerais Military Fire Department said, referring to everyone onboard the plane.
The plane was manufactured in 2022 and belongs to Bradesco Leasing e Arrendamento Mercantil. But Volare Equipamentos Aéreos currently operates it, according to Air Data News.
A Cirrus pilots website boasts 122 parachute saves to date, making it an incredible piece of safety technology. The pilot can deploy the parachute by pulling the CAPS handle on the aircraft’s ceiling as long as the plane reaches a minimum altitude. Ballistic rockets expel the parachute, and the plane floats gently down to safety below.
The FAA certified the technology in 1998.
The emergency plane parachute could become a fixture of small, single engine planes
Four passengers aboard a Philippine Cessna 340 last month were not as lucky as these Brazilians. In February, a plane with two local pilots and two Australian geologists crashed into a gully on the slope of Mayon, a highly active volcano with recorded eruptions dating back over 400 years.
The Australian passengers – named as Simon Chipperfield and Karthi Santhanam – worked for a geothermal power company. Their company deployed rescue teams equipped with helicopters and drones to aid in the search and rescue mission, but to no avail.
“It’s now the fourth day since they’ve gone missing. And considering the terrain and harsh weather, it’s a difficult and challenging situation… We continue to hope and pray that we will locate them,” Allan Barcena, the power company’s assistant vice president and spokesman, told CNN.
Search crews began scaling the 8,077-foot volcano almost immediately after the crash. Local Mayor Carlos Baldo Baldo acknowledged the difficulty that search and rescue teams faced. “It’s a difficult mission,” the mayor explained.
George Cordovilla was one of the mountaineers that made his way up the volcano toward the site of the crash. He’s climbed Mayon several times in the past, and said it was an extremely difficult trek. “It could easily erode and trigger rockfalls, even if there’s no eruption. Some are caused by wind, water, or rain,” he said. Rescuers found all four bodies two days after beginning the expedition.