Two planes collide midair, three killed

Two planes collide midair, three killed

Two planes collide midair, three killed


The scene of plane accident in Colorado. AP

''One of the aircraft clipped the towline of the other plane that was pulling a glider,'' the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) spokeswoman Laura Brown said.

According to officials, the victims were from both the planes, one of which crashed on the ground after the collision that took place on Saturday afternoon.

Three people, including the pilot, escaped unhurt in the accident, media reports said.
The pilot of the glider, identified as Reuben Bakker, landed at Boulder Municipal Airport about 3 miles southeast of the crash site with his two passengers, a woman and her 11-year-old son, Denver Post reported.

Investigators are trying to establish the identity of the deceased, Jennifer Rodi of the National Transportation Safety Board, lead investigator on the crash was quoted as saying.

The Pawnee and the glider were operated by Mile High Gliding. Rodi said it would take eight to 10 months before the initial probe is complete to establish the cause of the crash.

Eyewitnesses said that the plane, which crashed after the accident looked like a fireball coming down from the sky.

According to Rodi, a single-seat Piper Pawnee took off from Boulder airport towing a Schweitzer 2-32 glider. About 1:30 pm, a four-seater Cirrus SR20 collided with it in the air on the northern part of Boulder.

The exact sequence of events in the moments of collision was not clear, Rodi said, given conflicting accounts.

As the glider drifted, both the Pawnee and the Cirrus lurched out of control. While the Pawnee plunged to ground, the Cirrus, equipped with an airframe parachute, floated comfortably.

"I saw two fireballs arc away from each other," said Joshua Berman, a Spanish teacher and an eyewitness.

"It sounded like somebody throwing a heavy object into an empty metal Dumpster. It had a deep thud to it," said Shano Kelley, another eyewitness.

Rodi said it was too early to know whether the collision led the parachute to open or whether someone on the plane activated it.

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