The pilot of a Cirrus SR22 (G-CTAM) was able to avoid a potentially fatal crash by deploying the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS) earlier today.
The aircraft was on a flight from Dunkeswell Airfield in Exeter to Lee-On-Solent before the pilot lost control of the aircraft for an unknown reason and deployed CAPS.
Instead of crashing the aircraft floating down under a parachute and landed in the Solent.
Both occupants were able to exit the aircraft safely and were rescued by nearby boats.
In a statement, HM Coastguard said “At 2.43 pm this afternoon, HM Coastguard received numerous reports that a light aircraft had ditched into the water off Calshot Spit on the Solent.
“It was confirmed two people were on-board the aircraft. Both people were able to climb out of the aircraft after it came down and were then rescued by a nearby vessel.
“Hamble independent lifeboat escorted both casualties to Hamble Lifeboat Station. Neither person required medical assistance and both were declared well by the South Central Ambulance Service. They also made contact with Hampshire Police at the lifeboat station.
“The aircraft is now beached at Calshot and Lymington Coastguard Rescue Team are securing it. The Air Accident Investigation Branch have been informed.
“Any possible pollution damage will be assessed and the Maritime & Coastguard Agency’s Duty Counter Pollution and Salvage Officer has been informed.”
Cirrus’ CAPS system has been credited with saving over 170 lives since it was first used in anger in 2002.
The system gives Cirrus one of the best safety records in the industry and its aircraft have less than half the industry average of fatal accidents.
The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) have been informed.