Successful Parachute Ditching Off Bahamas

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A combination of good weather, good equipment and maybe a little good luck resulted in little more than some wet clothes for two Alabama residents who ditched off the coast of the Bahamas on Saturday. Richard McGlaughlin, 59, and Elaine McGlaughlin, 25, of Birmingham, were in a Cirrus SR22 just after noon when they reported engine trouble off Andros, southeast of Miami. From there, as is evident in this video by Petty Officer Third Class Sabrina Elgammal, everything seemed to go like clockwork.

The pilot made a distress call and deployed the aircraft’s parachute. The two occupants then inflated their life raft and were spotted by Coast Guard crews bobbing gently in the calm, shallow azure water. They were met by a Coast Guard swimmer who helped them onto a helicopter hoist for a quick flight to Nassau. There were no injuries but the future of the aircraft is less certain after its thorough dunking in warm salt water. Richard McGlaughlin is a gastroenterologist who uses the Cirrus to commute to Haiti once a month to help out with the cholera outbreak that followed the 2010 earthquake. He’s an experienced pilot and member of the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association.

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