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Plane crash over Cherry Creek State Park ignites worry for nearby community

cherry creek plane crash.jpg
Posted at 8:13 PM, May 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-17 12:22:30-04

DENVER — A wave of worry swept over an Englewood neighborhood where a plane came crashing down in an open field after colliding with another plane Wednesday.

A single-engine plane, Cirrus SR-22, collided with cargo metroliner plane, Swearingen SA226-TC Metro III, in mid-air over Cherry Creek State Park around 10:25 a.m. Two people were inside the Cirrus SR-22, and a pilot was inside the metroliner plane.

Alan Rodriguez was working on the back deck of a home in the Lake Pointe Estates neighborhood in Englewood when he heard a jolting sound in the sky. He said a team of workers he was with got scared because the plane appeared to be heading towards the home they were working on.

One of Rodriguez’ co-workers captured the single engine aircraft parachute down from the sky. Officials say no one was injured, but the incident ignited worry for people who live near the airport where the single-engine plane came crashing down.

Howard Miller lives only a couple of miles away from the airport. He says his son witnesses the crash. Miller has lived in the same home 20 years, and while the planes weren’t a concern initially, he’s now re-evaluating the danger.

“The concern is that a plane will actually hit the house or hit someone's house around here,” Miller said.

Sue Feakes says the crash happened about a half-mile from her house near a popular walking trail.

“We walk over there, so that’s concerning,” Feakes said. “We are fortunate that it was out on the reservoir in open land, so we are thankful for that.”

Officials say the single engine plane and the cargo plane were trying to land on parallel runways at the Centennial Airport when one plane overshot the final approach.

Tyler Bachelder, an assistant professor of aviation and aerospace science at MSU Denver, says the Centennial Airport is one of the busiest in the country.

He says collision between two planes increases during landings, but adds that collisions are rare.

It’s unclear which pilot is responsible for the crash.

“Air traffic control will provide advisories as much as possible, but really for any landing, especially on days like today, we are relying on looking outside the airplane — looking for other airplanes in the area,” Bachelder said.

No one was hurt in the crash, but the damage to the planes was significant. The pilot of the metroliner aircraft landed at the Centennial Airport with a gaping hole.

“To be able to confidently get the airplane back on the ground, they just had incredible skill,” Bachelder said.

The pilot of the Cirrus SR-22 deployed a parachute. The plane was recovered in several pieces.

“It’s an incredible safety feature that obviously saved their lives,” Bachelder said.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the crash.

“I hope that it never happens again,” Feakes said.