Plane engine loses power minutes into flight — so pilot thinks fast and uses parachute

A pilot’s quick thinking left those inside a plane with only minor scratches after it crashed in California, officials said.

On March 8, a 38-year-old man, a 38-year-old woman and a 2-year-old girl from Santa Rosa were on a plane in Whitethorn when its engine lost power five minutes after takeoff, according to a news release by Mendocino County deputies.

The pilot tried to troubleshoot the engine failure but realized the plane was flying too low to make a recovery, deputies said.

That’s when the pilot decided to deploy the plane’s Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS) to help slow the plane’s crash, officials said.

The plane crashed into “trees in a heavily wooded area,” deputies said.

Officers contacted the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) so they could further investigate the accident, officials said.

The group of three was rescued by the Shelter Cove Fire Department with help from Cal Fire Fortuna ECC, the Whale Gulch Volunteer Fire Company and the Southern Humboldt Technical Rescue Team, firefighters said on Instagram.

Whitethorn is about a 220-mile drive northwest of San Francisco.

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