North Bay family survives plane crash after parachute floats aircraft down to ground

The parachute carried the aircraft down into trees near Yellow Road in Whitethorn in Mendocino County.

Tuesday, March 12, 2024
North Bay family survives small plane crash thanks to parachute
Three Santa Rosa residents suffered minor injuries after their plane lost power and deployed a parachute that floated it down in Mendocino County.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Three Santa Rosa residents, including a 2-year-old child, suffered only minor injuries after their small plane lost engine power and deployed an onboard parachute that floated the aircraft down into a remote part of Mendocino County last week.

The Cirrus SR22 took off from Shelter Cove Airport in Humboldt County about 1 p.m. March 8, headed to Santa Rosa with two 38-year-old adults and the child on board, according to the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office, which responded along with authorities from Humboldt County.

The single-engine plane lost power about five minutes after takeoff and the pilot tried to troubleshoot the problem but the aircraft was flying too low, authorities said.

"At this point, the pilot deployed the airplane's Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS) which slowed the airplane's descent," according to a release from the Mendocino sheriff's office.

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The parachute carried the aircraft down into trees near Yellow Road in Whitethorn in Mendocino County, about 6 miles from the airport.

The plane and parachute became entangled in the trees about 100 feet off the ground, said Mendocino County Sheriff's spokesperson Capt. Quincy Cromer. From there the aircraft eventually fell to the ground.

"These are usually worst-case scenarios," Cromer said. "The fact that they had only minor scratches and abrasions is a miracle."

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board were contacted and are investigating the incident.

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