UK & World News
Pilot Forced To Jump As Skydiver Damages Plane
A pilot who had to take his first jump as his skydiving plane was spiralling out of control has recounted the shaky moment he leapt out of the aircraft.
Shawn Kinmartin was flying four clients of Fly Free Skydiving out of an airport in Missouri's Crystal City when he suddenly had to fight to control his Cessna 182 after the last jumper's parachute damaged the aircraft's tail.
The 21-year-old, who has been flying skydivers for years, managed to steer the plane away from a populated farmland and then decided to bail.
"I thought, 'What am I doing?' But I knew it was the right decision," Mr Kinmartin told the AP news agency.
"I know things were getting bad, and I felt the controls getting less and less responsive," he said.
"At that point, (my boss) was recommending bailing out."
He was already wearing a parachute, as his employer requires of his pilots on such flights.
Ultimately, the plane slammed harmlessly into a corn field, while Mr Kinmartin landed safely, and no one was injured.
Even in the scary circumstances he said he felt the "rush of skydiving".
"I saw the aircraft spiralling underneath me, and once I knew no one was going to be harmed, at that point it was a relief.
"I had some fun, even if it was short," he said.
"I can't wait to get back up there. This is what I'm born to do. This won't stop me."