• £500,000 Cirrus SR22 floated down from around 200ft billowing black smoke
  • Crashed into field near village of Benington in Hertfordshire
  • Plane was fitted with ‘drogue chute’ which are rare on light aircraft
  • Cirrus is one of few manufacturers to fit the chutes, credited with saving more than 100 lives 


A pilot had an incredible escape yesterday when he deployed a parachute… from the top of his light aircraft. 

Instead of crashing into a field, the plane floated down from around 200ft and the pilot and his passenger escaped almost unhurt.

And the aircraft, a Cirrus SR22, was only slightly damaged.

Witnesses spotted it billowing black smoke as it flew low over open fields near the village of Benington in Hertfordshire.

‘I was sure it was going to crash but then suddenly the parachute appeared,’ said David Stuckley who was taking photographs of a nearby fire when he spotted the stricken plane.

‘It was an amazing sight. I was fearing for whoever was in it but I heard later they suffered only minor injuries.

‘I had been concentrating on a nearby fire but this was far more dramatic.

‘There was this terrific whooshing noise and I looked up and saw the plane with a plume of black smoke streaming out. Then the parachute appeared, the plane slowed dramatically and crash-landed in a paddock.

‘We raced across – we had to run about a mile – and by the time we got there a fire engine and a couple of police cars were at the scene and a helicopter had landed nearby.’ 

The plane, costing close to £500,000, was fitted with a ‘drogue chute’ which are rare on light aircraft. Cirrus are one of the few manufacturers to fit them, and it is credited with saving more than 100 lives.

The plane is registered to Steven Breslaw who lives in Finchley, North London, but it is unclear whether he was in the aircraft at the time.

New models of the Cirrus SR22, which are built in Minnesota, have a base price of more than $600,000, around £440,000, while top-of-the-range models with all the added extras can cost up to $1 million (£745,000) each.