Three Die In Cirrus/Towplane Midair

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Three people died in a midair collision between a Cirrus aircraft and a glider towplane Saturday near Boulder, Colo. Two of the dead were in a Cirrus SR20 and the other was the pilot of a Piper Pawnee glider towplane. The pilot of the glider was able to release the aircraft and had to fly through the flaming debris from the collision before landing safely at Boulder airport. The pilot and two passengers in the glider, a woman and her 11-year-old son, were shaken but uninjured. The Pawnee went out of control and crashed immediately after the collision. The SR20's whole airframe parachute deployed and the vigorously burning aircraft settled slowly to the ground. It's not known whether the pilot pulled the handle or the crash or fire detonated the explosive charge that deploys the chute. Witnesses told various news organizations they saw the occupants of the Cirrus falling separately from the burning aircraft. The horrific descent of the Cirrus was caught on video from various angles but none that we've seen shows anyone falling from the aircraft. There were pieces of the airplane falling separately, however.

The victims' names have not been formerly released. However, the Minneapolis Star Tribune is reporting that the occupants of the Cirrus were Robert Matthews and his brother Mark. According to the FAA registry, an SR20 is registered to a Robert Matthews, of Boulder.