Update Nov. 5 7:55 a.m: Here's video of the crash.
Original: Nine skydivers and two pilots survived a mid-air crash at 12,000 feet this weekend after those aboard were able to safely parachute to the ground. Two of those aboard suffered minor injuries. The surreal crash along the Wisconsin-Minnesota border left one plane totally destroyed, forcing its pilot to eject to safety. The other plane was eventually able to land. Both planes were owned by Skydive Superior.
According to a local Fox affiliate, authorities still don't know why the two planes collided, though they were flying close to each other at the time, one following the other. Just before impact, the lead plane carried four people seconds away from jumping in formation, while the trailing plane carried five — two inside, two prepared to leap. It sounds like the crash shook off the prepared skydivers on impact, while the remaining two jumpers managed to get out of the trailing plane shortly after. The lead pilot ejected as his plane caught fire and began to break apart, using an emergency parachute to guide his descent. The other plane was in much better shape.
Every skydiver except for the pilot was equipped with a steerable parachute, letting them land more or less where they were aiming for before the crash, anyway. All of the skydivers involved in the crash were experienced, including several instructors for Skydive Superior. One of them, Mike Robinson, described the debris falling from the destroyed plane as the group descended:
“We’re in free fall, so we’re falling about 120 miles an hour vertically down...But then we open our parachutes, and now all the sudden they’re falling faster than we are. … Fortunately, everybody kept it together so they just avoided (the debris).”
Of all those involved, the pilot in the lead plane that broke apart suffered the most serious injuries: he "was visibly bloodied about his face and shirt and had one hand wrapped in a garment," according to Superior Fire Department Battalion Chief Vern Johnson's comment to CNN. According to Robinson, the pilot may need some stitches, but was not "seriously hurt."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.