Plane involved in deadly crash had parachute that was never deployed


Plane crash debris in Douglas County, Colorado

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PARKER, Colo. -- The small, single-engine plane that crashed in Douglas County Friday night never deployed an emergency parachute, according to federal investigators.

The plane was a Cirrus SR22 and was equipped with a ballistic parachute recovery system known as CAPS: Cirrus Airframe Recovery System.

But the pilot never deployed the parachute, according to National Transportation Safety Board investigators.

"I’d say, (it's) too early in the investigation to make a conclusion in that regard – why the pilot chose not to deploy the ballistic recovery system or the CAPS parachute system - but it was not deployed," Dr. Jennifer Rodi, an NTSB senior air safety investigator, told FOX31.

If that parachute was deployed, it may have been able to save the pilot's life, as Cirrus CAPS have done dozens of times in recent years, according to a government study.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information studied 268 Cirrus crash reports from 2001 - 2016.

In 211 crashes the pilots did not deploy the parachutes, 82 of those crashes were deadly.

However, in 57 crashes pilots did deploy the parachutes, just eight of those crashes were deadly.

Cirrus says the parachutes have saved at least 142 lives under certain conditions. The aviation company says no one has died in crashes where the parachutes were deployed at the recommended speed and altitude: below 140 knots (about 160 miles per hour) and at 400 feet when flying level and 920 feet if the plane is in a tail spin.

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