(TAMPA, Fla.) — A pilot and a skydiver are expected to survive after a midair collision on Saturday between the two sent his plane into a 90-degree nose dive, while the skydiver spun and slammed into the ground.
The 87-year-old pilot, Shannon Trembley, a World War II veteran, was running what are called touch-and-go drills, when the plane lands on the runway and immediately takes off again.
As both the plane and skydiver came in to land, it became clear a collision was imminent.
“As the shutter’s clicking away, I realize that I’m seeing something that is certainly spectacular,” skydiving photographer Tim Telford told Good Morning America.
The nose of the plane sliced the strings of the parachute, dragging the skydiver, John Frost, 49, through the air like a rag-doll before it hit the ground and lifted off again.
Meanwhile, Trembley lost control of the aircraft and the nose of the plane grinded to the ground at a 90-degree angle.
“Obviously, when you see an airplane crash to the ground your first thought is, ‘Oh my gosh, what happened?’” Telford said.
Tee Sifford, president of the local homeowner’s association, said both men were lucky to escape with only minor injuries. Frost was released later Saturday from the hospital.
“This is absolutely incredible that we don’t have any fatalities here,” Sifford said.
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