On Tuesday evening, a small plane headed for Danbury Municipal Airport in Connecticut crash-landed two miles from its destination.
The single-engine Cirrus SR20's recovery parachute deployed and cushioned the crash, saving the lives of all three men onboard.
"They were very shaken, but physically they were fine, um, they didn't need to go to the hospital and lives were saved, there's no question about it," Danbury airport official Michael Safranek told WTNH.
The plane's pilot reported experiencing engine difficulties five miles from the airport, the Stamford Advocate reports. He deployed the orange-and-white bull's-eye-patterned parachute when the half-million-dollar aircraft was just two miles out.
"It's a safety feature like an airbag in a car," said aviation mechanic Devon Chapin of the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System. "The parachute itself comes out of a special panel right here and there's a rocket that deploys that parachute."
For a plane to land properly with the use of a parachute, the aircraft must be at least 800 feet in the sky.
"It actually literally just floated down and it landed just exactly the way it was supposed to without crashing into anything," said Chapin.
"The aircraft is an amazingly advanced aircraft, and it worked exactly as it was supposed to. It saved lives in the air — the three — and it saved lives on the ground."
Investigators reported that the damage to the plane was "substantial." A final report on the cause of the accident may not be released for several months.