13 skydivers jump safely when plane’s engine catches fire in Colorado

CALHAN, Colo., Aug. 8 (UPI) — A skydiving plane made an emergency landing at Colorado Springs East Aiport after an engine caught fire.

El Paso County Sheriff’s Office officials believe a bird might have gone into the engine of the plane operated by Into the Blue Skydiving on Sunday afternoon.

Fourteen people were on the plane, including the pilot. The passengers all parachuted from the plane and were later picked up. No one was injured and the plane returned safely to the airport, deputies said.

Passenger Trent Rees said they heard a pop about three minutes into the flight around 1:45 p.m.

“The pilot took a few seconds to assess the situation and he said ‘everybody out.’ And we were at a safe altitude for all of us to get out. And we all landed safely,” Reese told KRDO.

Owner John Mayhan said the plane struck a bird.

“It’s an unfortunate event. Everyone is safe. We are very happy everyone is accounted for. Now we have to figure out how to mitigate the damages and get back open. Hopefully by next weekend we will be able to get back up and get flying,” Mayhan told KRDO.

The skydivers jumped from the plane at 2,000 feet — with 12,000 feet the normal height.

“We are all skydivers. We deal with high stress situations every day. It’s part of our life. So for everyone to remain calm, it’s pretty normal in that kind of situation,” passenger Rusty Bobby Wardlow said.

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