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Nevada couple, 38, and their daughter, 2, miraculously survive horror plane crash by deploying PARACHUTE from the aircraft while it was still flying over a California forest after engine failure

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  • Cirrus SR22’s engine failed minutes into the flight from Whitehorn to Santa Rosa
  • On board were pilot Artem Konokuk, 38, his partner and their daughter, two
  • They miraculously escaped with only cuts and bruises after the chute deployed

California first responders were greeted by a sight out of a James Bond movie after rushing to aid of a stricken aircraft which was floating to earth on its own parachute.

The young family of three on board escaped with just cuts and bruises after their Cirrus light aircraft lost power just five minutes into their flight from Shelter Cove in Whitethorn.

On board was pilot Artem Kononuk with his 38-year-old partner and their two-year-old daughter.

The businessman from Reno, Nevada realized the 20-year-old plane had not height to make it over the surrounding hills and pulled the lever on the in-built chute which cushioned its landing in the forest below.

‘These are usually worst-case scenarios,’ said Quincy Cromer of the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office.

‘The fact that they had only minor scratches and abrasions is a miracle.’

A family of three on board this Cirrus SR22 light aircraft escaped with cuts and bruises

A family of three on board this Cirrus SR22 light aircraft escaped with cuts and bruises  

The four-seat plane came to rest in a tree before crashing to earth upside-down

The four-seat plane came to rest in a tree before crashing to earth upside-down 

The frame of the light aircraft had been torn open by the impact despite the parachute

The frame of the light aircraft had been torn open by the impact despite the parachute 

The young family were heading off on the 170-mile journey down the coast to Santa Rosa where they own a home when the only engine cut out at 1.15pm on Friday.

‘The pilot began to troubleshoot why the airplane lost engine power, but had noticed the plane’s altitude was too low for recovery,’ the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

‘At this point, the pilot deployed the airplane’s Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS) which slowed the airplane’s decent.

‘The parachute carried the airplane until it ultimately crashed into trees in a heavily wooded area of Yellow Road in Whitethorn.’

The family’s ordeal was far from over however as the plane had come to rest in the branches of a tree 100 feet above the forest floor.

They somehow managed to scramble clear and climb down the tree without bringing the precipitously balanced aircraft down with them.

Rescuers who scrambled through the forest arrived to find the family nursing their injuries on the ground, and the 2,200 pound aircraft now crumpled and upside-down on the ground beside them.

Its tail was entirely detached, and the life-saving parachute was still in the tree canopy above.

The aircraft manufacturer has installed parachutes for its four-seat SR22s since 1998 and it was successfully deployed in 107 emergencies worldwide between then and 2021.

Company co-founder Alan Klapmeier determined to develop whole-chute parachutes after surviving a mid-air collision in 1985, and he was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame ten years ago in recognition of his efforts. 

Rescuers feared the worst as they fought their way through thick forest to reach the family

Rescuers feared the worst as they fought their way through thick forest to reach the family 

The life-saving parachute was still in the tree canopy when they reached the scene

The life-saving parachute was still in the tree canopy when they reached the scene 

‘The coordinated response from our fellow emergency response agencies and the quick action of the witnesses played a crucial role in locating and ensuring the safety of those involved in this incident, including extinguishing a small fire,’ said a spokesman for the Shelter Cove Fire Department.

‘This is extremely steep and difficult terrain. Even with the parachute the parties involved were extremely fortunate to only receive minor injuries.

‘We are grateful for the professionalism and dedication demonstrated by everyone involved.’

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

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