Planes Collide Over Slovakia: Bigger Tragedy Avoided As Many Jumped Out With Parachutes

Two planes collided over western Slovakia. They collectively carried dozens of people onboard, but majority of them managed to jump out and parachuted down to safety.

Seven people, including crew members and some passengers, died when two planes collided midair over western Slovakia, near the village of Cerveny Kamen, reported the Associated Press. The planes were carrying a total of 38 people onboard, but majority of them were parachutists and many jumped in time to land safely on the ground. Of the 38, 31 managed to save themlseves. However, the collision killed two crew members from both planes, and three parachutists.

The midair collision happened at 1,500 meters and involved two L-410 twin propeller planes that are traditionally used for skydiving expeditions. The parachutists were, in fact, highly trained and were up in the air to practice for the this weekend’s air show in nearby Slavnica, shared the country’s interior minister, Robert Kaliňák.

“The 31 parachutists managed to jump out from the falling planes and survived. They all landed safely. It’s a small miracle.”

The collision occurred in the White Carpathians mountain range, that forms the border with the Czech Republic, reported the Guardian. This forced the rescue workers to use helicopters to reach the crash site. However, despite the hilly terrain, all of the parachutists have been rescued. Five of them needed minor medical treatment, but none had to be taken to a hospital. Unfortunately, two crew members from each plane and three parachutists did not survive the collision.

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The two Czech-made L-410 transport planes must have taken off, one after the other, with the parachutists on board, as it was the final rehearsals for an airshow which was scheduled for this weekend. These planes have traditionally had a very strong safety record and apart from being regularly used to take people up in the air for jumping down with a parachute, they have been deployed to take people on scenic tours of many naturally-formed tourist destinations.

It is not known what went wrong, and an investigation has already been launched. What’s impressive is that many of the parachutists managed to jump out after the planes had collided, confirmed Interior Minister Robert Kalinak.

Midair collisions aren’t rare, but the rate of survival is usually quite low. This is one of the rare occasions that, though two planes collided in midair, a majority of the passengers managed to survive and none went to the hospital.

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