Skydiver Calls It ‘Unimaginable’ That Plane Hit Him, But He’ll Jump Again

By ABC News

Mar 10, 2014 9:23am

ABC News’ Linzie Janis reports:

The skydiver who collided with an airplane at a small Florida airfield and escaped with just minor injuries says he couldn’t believe what was going to happen to him just moments before the impact.

“It was just unimaginable that there was an aircraft about to hit me,” skydiver John Frost said in an interview with “Good Morning America,” speaking of the Saturday collision with a single-engine Cessna aircraft.

Skydiver Collides With Plane, Sending Him Slamming into Ground

Frost, 49, of Gainesville, was coming in for a landing at South Lakeland Airport in Mulberry, located just East of Tampa, when he saw the small private plane heading straight for him.

The plane’s 87-year-old pilot, Sharon Trembley, a World War II veteran, was performing takeoff and landing maneuvers.

“All the sudden I looked over to my right and there was an aircraft coming at me, I realized I was going to have an impact. I scrunched up and tried to prepare myself,” Frost said.

“My first thought is that I don’t want to end up in the propeller,” he added.

The nose of the plane flew directly through the strings of the parachute, tangling them around the wing and flinging Frost higher into the air before sending him crashing to the ground.

Teen’s Parachute Fails to Open on First Skydive

Trembley lost control, crashing the plane into the ground at a 90-degree angle.

“I pulled back on the stick to make the airplane go up and not hit him,” Trembley told local station WTVT. “If I hadn’t thought fast enough myself, he would have been dead and you can see that by the pictures.”

Trembley was hospitalized and treated for several cuts, including one on his neck that needed stitches. He also bruised his vocal cords, according to WTVT.

Frost was taken to the hospital, where he was treated and released.

“I’m very sore, some bruising, no broken bones, no internal injuries right now, but that’s still being determined,” Frost said.

An experienced jumper, Frost said he’s never before heard of a plane hitting a skydiver.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating.

Frost says the incident hasn’t put him off jumping.

“(As) soon as I get a new rig or decide to rent one, hopefully heal up, soon as I feel safe to jump, I’ll get back up there,” he said. “It clears your mind. It gives you the exhilaration of a lifetime.”

Tim Telford, a skydiving photographer, captured the incident in a series of dramatic photos.

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Tim Telford

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