It wouldn’t have surprised me at all if someone in Florida had invented a new sport that involves intentionally flying small planes directly into skydivers, but (incredibly) that wasn’t the case with this almost-horrifying incident from Saturday. An 87-year old pilot* was practicing his takeoff and landing maneuvers at a small airport in scenic Lakeland on Saturday morning, according to CBS News, when he suddenly clipped a skydiver’s parachute strings, causing the plane to face plant and the skydiver to be thrown to the ground from about 75-feet in the air.
Amazingly, nobody was significantly hurt – unless you count the poor Cessna plane – and there was even a professional photographer on hand at just the right time to snap some pictures.
[Tim] Telford told WTSP he thought is was a a miracle: “The plane caught the side of the canopy, flipped the plane 180 degrees and flipped the skydiver into the air. You heard the airplane hit the parachute, which sounded like you falling on your face into your pillow; a ‘woof’ sound.” (Via CBS News, which desperately needs to give its copy editor some fresh coffee)
Most remarkable, as CBS points out, Saturday was the U.S. Parachute Association’s Safety Day, which would have qualified for the most insane Florida story of the weekend if George Zimmerman hadn’t been signing autographs at a gun show. I wouldn’t believe any of this if I didn’t live here.
*As if driving in Florida wasn’t dangerous enough. Now we have planes that fly for 20 miles with a blinker on and the landing gear down.