Two planes were carrying nine skydivers for final jumps in northern Wisconsin Saturday when terror struck.
At 12,000 feet, one plane crashed into the other. All the skydivers were thrown from the aircraft or forced to jump.
Mike Robinson, an instructor and safety adviser for Skydive Superior, describes the circumstances that caused a Cessna 185 and a Cessna 182 to collide in midair Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013 in Superior, Wisc. (AP/Duluth News Tribune, Clint Austin)
“We were just a few seconds away from having a normal skydive when the trail plane came over the top of the lead aircraft and came down on top of us,” Mike Robinson, an instructor who completed his 937th skydive in the fateful jump, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “There was this terribly loud bang. And a flash of fire. The wing and the strut supporting it broke off into a fireball, leaving us nothing to hang on to."
“Even if anybody yelled anything, it was too loud to hear anything. We followed our instincts. We just jumped. And we watched everything falling around us," Robinson, 64, continued.
The skydivers were forced to dodge burning plane debris as they plummeted toward the ground. Robinson told the Star Tribune as they were free falling, all they could hope for "was to fall faster than those wings and somehow get away from them."
Amazingly, no one was struck. Adding to the harrowing story, one pilot managed to safely land his damaged plane while the other bailed and parachuted to safety.
Robinson said how the accident ended was “nothing short of miraculous.”
While only minor injuries were reported, Robinson said it left some in "rough emotional states." Not him though -- he said he'd "have no hesitation to get back up there.”
The Star Tribune reported that authorities are still investigating the incident, unsure at this point what caused the accident.
"All of us at Skydive Superior want to thank all of our friends for your expressions of concern and support during this very difficult time for us. We appreciate you all very much," the company operating the planes, Skydive Superior, wrote on its Facebook page. "The jumpers and pilots have been through a very surreal experience, and they are lucky and thankful to be alive. We are working very closely with the media to get the accurate story out, and so far they have done a very good job. We will continue to appreciate your support. Thank you."
Watch WTMJ-TV's report about the midair collision:
Featured image via Shutterstock.