A skydiver breaks a plane, and the pilot is forced to weigh his options. The skydiver damaged the plane during his jump, and it badly damaged the tail of the plane. For about thirty minutes, the pilot had to figure out what to do on Saturday morning. His final decision was to abandon his plane and jump out himself before it crashed. Fox San Diego reported on the incident on June 15.
Shawn Kinnmartin was flying the plane for two skydivers on Saturday, but he didn't imagine he would be the third to jump out of the small Cessna 182 that morning. One of the skydivers hit the elevator of the plane, and that caused severe damage. Kinnmartin first tried to see if he could return to the airport and land safely. A fellow pilot even went up to check out the plane for Kinnmartin, according to KCCI. It was that pilot's assessment that the plane was too badly damaged to make it to the airport.
Where did this take place? Kinnmartin was traveling between eastern Missouri and southern Illinois on Saturday. When the skydiver damaged the plane, Kinnmartin was at 11,500 feet. The airport he wanted to fly to was 35 miles outside St. Louis. However, the Festus airport was holding a car show, and that would make the runway too short for him. He didn't want to injure anyone at that event either if the landing did not go well.
Once he made the decision to abandon his aircraft, he did his best to find the safest area for him to land and the plane to crash. He found a farm field. Lucky for him, Kinnmartin was already prepared to jump. He was wearing a parachute, and he had received skydiving training himself. However, he had not planned to jump at all this weekend. The jump he made was his first ever skydive.
Kinnmartin did speak out about the frightening experience on the news. He said the following: "When I jumped out of the aircraft it was at 2,000 feet, so I only had 1,500 feet left till the ground, and when I hit the ground the plane spiraled and crashed into the field. After I jumped out of the plane, and I knew that I was going to hit … in a field and not actually hit a building or hurt anyone else and my chute finally did deploy; at that point, I kind of hit the rush of skydiving."
Kinnmartin also revealed that the plane wash completely destroyed in the crash. He knew if he had been inside the plane at the time of impact, he would not have survived. Kinnmartin did feel a variety of emotions during the incident. Nervousness and excitement were among them. Right now, Kinnmartin is just happy to be alive. No one else was injured during the crash. The plane and Kinnmartin landed in a soybean field.
It is clear that Kinnmartin was prepared for the jump, but it was not the jump he wanted to take. What do you think? Have you ever been skydiving? What would you do in Kinnmartin's shoes? Share your thoughts below.