No injuries were reported in a midair collision involving a Key Lime Air SW4 Metroliner and a Cirrus SR-22 over Colorado’s Cherry Creek State Park on Wednesday. According to the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office, there were two people onboard the Cirrus and the aircraft’s CAPS whole-airframe parachute was deployed. The only person onboard the Metroliner was the pilot, who was able to land the aircraft at Centennial Airport (KAPA) following the accident with near catastrophic damage to the aircraft’s rear fuselage section.
“About 10:25 a.m. today, the sheriff’s office as well as South Metro Fire began receiving calls of a plane crash near Belleview Avenue and South Cherry Creek Drive,” said Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office deputy John Bartmann. “Deputies responded and found a single-engine plane had collided with another plane midair. The other plane was able to land at Centennial Airport without any issues and without any injuries.”
ADS-B tracking data from FlightAware shows that the Metroliner was inbound from the west, being vectored for Runway 17L at Centennial, south of Denver. The Cirrus, which was rented from KAPA-based Independence Aviation, was returning to the airport after a flight to the north and was being vectored for Runway 17R from the northwest. As heard in the audio below from LiveATC.net, controllers were working the runways on different frequencies. The Metroliner, identified as Key Lime Flight 970, was a repositioning flight inbound to KAPA from Harriet Alexander Field (KANK) in Salida, Colorado.
According to the audio, the Cirrus had been cleared to land on 17R behind a Cessna, with another Cessna following. The Cirrus pilot called the first Cessna in sight and when the Metro was also pointed out, he appeared to confirm that traffic was in sight, too. The controller’s last transmission was to warn the Cirrus pilot not to overshoot the final to 17R. Moments later, the controller apparently saw the CAPs deployment and asked if the Cirrus required assistance. The Metro pilot may have been unaware of the collision. He declared an emergency after reporting an apparent engine failure and continued to the airport to land without further incident.
The NTSB is investigating the accident and expects to publish its preliminary report in the next 14 days. This story will be updated as more information becomes available.