DANBURY, Conn. (WTNH) -- Danbury airport officials say a plane was trying to land and the pilot called saying he suffered engine trouble 5 miles away and then the plane crashed with 3 people on board. The plane had a parachute and News 8 talked to first responders and a mechanic about how it ultimately saved lives last night.
"When I first got the call and I heard it was a plane crash in the middle of a residential area, I expected the worst," said Michael Safranek.
Danbury airport's Safranek was one of the first on the scene to see the Cirrus SR20. The plane's built-in parachute cushioned the fall. The instructor, student, and his friend all walked away.
"They were very shaken, but physically they were fine, um, they didn't need to go to the hospital and lives were saved, there's no question about it," said Safranek.
News 8's Stephanie Simoni toured a plane similar to the one they were flying in. It's an SR22. Safranek says 2 miles outside the airport, the pilot realized they were going to crash so he pulled down and ejected the parachute.
"It's a safety feature like an airbag in a car," said Devon Chapin.
Aviation mechanic Chapin has worked on these planes for 6 years. He says a nearly 70 foot in diameter parachute deploys in less than two seconds, a short time to land a nearly 3-thousand pound aircraft.
"The parachute itself comes out of a special panel right here and there's a rocket that deploys that parachute," said Chapin.
To land properly the plane has to be atleast 800 feet in the sky. Luckily last night all factors were on their side.
"It actually literally just floated down and it landed just exactly the way it was supposed to without crashing into anything," said Chapin.