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Rulon Gardner Airplane Recovery at Lake Powell

Cross Marine Projects was contracted to locate and recover a private Cirrus aircraft, which had crashed in a very remote area of the Lake Powell Recreational area. The crash site was 27 miles from the nearest marina or facility. Since this particular type of aircraft is equipped with a ballistic parachute system for emergencies, special care had to be taken not to deploy the system accidentally while divers were working on the aircraft under water.

Surface crew helps a Cross diver suit up for the deep-water recovery of a Cirrus aircraft from the waters of Lake Powell. This large man made reservoir contains more shoreline than the whole west coast of the United States. lake powell airplane recovery
lake powell sunken airplane recovery boat The Charity Eden Recovery Vessel and other specially designed vessels used by Cross can be transported anywhere in the United States in a matter of days. It is equipped with various sonar, positioning equipment and other electronic systems. It carries a full commercial diving surface supplied air system, diver communications and recovery systems.
Using a specially designed lift system, Cross recovery crews carefully raise the Cirrus aircraft to the surface. Special attention had to be given to the explosively charged emergency parachute recovery system to keep it from detonating underwater as the divers conducted the lift. lake powell sunken plane recovery
cross marine recovers rulon gardner airplane lake powell Having disarmed the ballistic parachute, crews placed a pneumatic lift system under the aircraft to allow it to be towed 27 miles to the nearest take out point. Rulon Gardner, the Olympic Wrestler, the pilot and a third individual survived the crash landing within the Lake Powell Recreational Area.

Update: Video footage of Cross Marine recovering the Rulon Gardner airplane wreckage aired on NBC’s The Biggest Loser Season 11 Episode 3 approximately 15 minutes into the show.

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