Skydivers Recount Mid-Air Collision, Vow to Jump Again

Saturday crash above Wisconsin left Skydive Superior without aircraft

By BJ Lutz
|  Tuesday, Nov 5, 2013  |  Updated 11:13 AM CDT
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Skydivers Recount Mid-Air Collision, Vow to Jump Again

Video from the divers' helmet-mounted cameras was licensed exclusively by NBC News.

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The nine skydivers who made a miraculous return to Earth after their two planes collided above northern Wisconsin on Saturday all said they'd return to the sky, though one conceded it might take her a little longer than her companions to do another jump.

"Not as soon as everybody else, but yes," Sarah Perrine told NBC's Matt Lauer during a Tuesday morning appearance on the Today show.

Perrine, the other jumpers and two pilots were 12,000 feet in the air above Superior, Wis., on Saturday when one plane clipped the other, shearing off the wings in cascade of fire, plane parts and parachutes.

Video from the divers' helmet-mounted cameras was licensed exclusively by NBC News.

Several of the divers already on the steps of each plane when the impact occurred were knocked off. Amy Olson recalled Blake Wedan, one of the pilots, scream "Go!" to the divers who remained on his plane, ordering them to jump.

"It was unpleasant," said Daniel Chandler, who recalled being wedged between the two aircrafts and nearly collided with one plane's propeller. "The sound behind me, I'll never forget. And that's all I could do was try and stay forward and try not to move because I knew I was going to live where I was, or thought I could."

All the skydivers opened their chutes between 3,000 and 5,000 feet and landed safely; the pilot of the first plane got out alive, too, using his emergency parachute.

Wedan landed his plane safely back at Richard I. Bong Airport, from where he took off, albeit with damage to his aircraft's propeller and wing.

"It's kind of a joke now, but it was actually one of my better landings," he said.

Despite the ordeal, all of them said they look forward to getting back into the air, though Mike Robinson said the company, Skydive Superior, is now without aircraft.

"This is just part of who we are," said Barry Sinnex.

"I'm more terrified of spiders," added Lanaya Bonogofsky.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

 

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

 

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Recently, a skydiving accident in Belgium claimed the lives of 11 people. Part of the aircraft's wing broke minutes after the plane took off from an airfield on Oct. 19, sending the plane into a spiraling nosedive. The parachutists, nearly all between the ages of 20 and 40, were celebrating a birthday and weren't able to jump out.
 
NBCNews.com and The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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