Skydivers tell remarkable story of surviving mid-air collision over Superior

Author:
Updated:
Original:

Nine skydivers and two pilots are grateful to be recounting the tale of this weekend's mid-air plane collision near Superior, Wisc., that left them with only minor injuries.

As CNN reports, the five skydivers in one plane and the four in the other were preparing to jump in formation.

An Associated Press story explains that as one plane came over the top of the other, it crashed down onto it. The story then quotes Mike Robinson, an instructor and safety adviser with Skydive Superior, who was preparing to jump from the plane that was hit. "It turned into a big flash fireball and the wing separated," Robinson said. "All of us knew we had a crash. ... The wing over our head was gone, so we just left," he added.

The AP reports the pilot of that plane deployed his emergency parachute. The other plane was damaged, but its pilot was able to nurse it to a runway at Richard I. Bong Memorial Airport after the skydivers jumped.

Robinson tells the Star Tribune that during their four-minute descent the skydivers feared for their lives as they worked to avoid the flaming debris that was falling with them. “Our concern was not to get hit by anything,” he recalled. “We were in a free fall. By this time, the other wing had come off. Both wings were above us. All we could hope for, at that point, was to fall faster than those wings and somehow get away from them."

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Roland Herwig said the lead plane broke into three parts, with debris landing on the airport property and an adjacent retail area. Northland's News Center reports the pilot who parachuted from the lead plane suffered minor injuries from the impact of landing and was taken by ambulance to a local hospital.

The Duluth News Tribune reports the skydivers are headed to New York to tell their amazing story to NBC's Today show Monday morning. Barry Sinex, another instructor, considers the New York trip a fundraiser. Sinex tells the News Tribune the two planes that crashed were the only two that Skydive Superior owned. He estimates it will take $150,000 to get the company back in the air.

Braydon Kurtz of Superior was duck hunting along the St. Louis River when he witnessed the collision. He said he saw two planes — “one was circling down and one was going down straight.”

“We were just kind of lucky that we were at the point where we were out of the airplane,” Robinson told the News Tribune. “If we’d been back in the rear of the airplane when they collided it might have been a little bit different.”

It was not immediately clear what turned an ordinary recreational run into a collision. The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.

Next Up

Gov. Tim Walz

Gov. Tim Walz to address Minnesotans about COVID-19 on Friday

The number of COVID-19 cases at long-term care facilities have been increasing after outbreaks at the facilities slowed 'significantly' over the summer.

124906958_401361401236047_6293747214536025849_o

Pandemic pushes need for cybersecurity and I.T. professionals to forefront

University of Wisconsin-Superior is helping meet demand with online master’s programs

Screen Shot 2020-12-03 at 5.01.58 PM

Body found floating in Minnesota River in Shakopee

Efforts to identify the deceased are underway.

Hennepin County Government Center

Judge finds suspect guilty in 1991 murder of young Minneapolis woman

A 58-year-old man from South St. Paul, who was 29 at the time, has been found guilty of stabbing a 20-year-old woman

northfield community education center

Northfield school fires employee who allegedly gave melatonin to infant

It's against district policies to give a child anything without a parents' permission.

state hockey tournament, mshsl

MSHSL approves 3 calendars to start winter sports as soon as Dec. 21

The start date will depend on whether the state shutdown is lifted.

hydrocodon-DEA

Drug overdose deaths up 31% in the first half of 2020

Overdose deaths started to increase sharply in March, which coincides with the state-ordered lockdown for the COVID-19 pandemic.

los ocampos

Video: Vehicle crashes into St. Paul restaurant

The fire department is on scene addressing a gas leak.

covid-19, coronavirus

Latest county infection rates are sky-high throughout Minnesota

Kandiyohi County is one of the hardest hit counties in the state.

Jenna Fish

Family's warning after teen's tragic death from CO poisoning at Thanksgiving

A 17-year-old girl from Delano died after Thanksgiving due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Related