Two men were hurt Saturday morning (March 8) when a the parachute of a skydiver got tangled up in a small Cessna plane in Mulberry, Florida.
The Polk County Sheriff's Office says the pilot, 87-year-old Sharon Trembley, a World War II veteran, was doing touch-and-goes in his private Cessna at the South Lakeland Airport when his passenger side wing clipped a skydiver’s parachute on the third pass. The plane’ swing cut the chute and tossed the skydiver into the air about 75-feet above the ground.
The skydiver, 49-year-old John Frost of Gainesville, was thrown down toward the ground while the plane nose-dived.
"I thought they were both seriously hurt. We rushed over there," said Paul Fuller, one of Trembly's friends who was also watching from the ground. "He's a pretty good pilot. He's been flying all of his life, probably 60 some-odd years."
Both men were taken to the hospital, but thankfully, neither was seriously injured.
Frost was treated and released. Trembley was being held for observation.
"You always hear the negatives about somebody died or somebody this, that or the other. Both these guys walked away unscathed," Telford said. "A scratch here, a bruise there and I think both are just happy to be here today."
The National Traffic and Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the accident.