Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Skydiver, pilot survive dramatic meeting

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THE wing of a small plane flying a few feet off the ground clipped the strings of a parachute Saturday in Florida, flinging the skydiver into the air and slamming the plane nose-first into grass.

Both pilot and skydiver survived.

In fact, neither the pilot nor the skydiver suffered serious injuries, the Polk County Sheriff's Office said.

The pilot, 87-year-old Shannon Trembley, had been practising landings and take-offs with his private Cessna at South Lakeland Airport near Tampa. During one of Trembley's approaches Saturday morning, the passenger-side wing got caught in the strings of John Frost's parachute as Frost came in for a landing. Frost, 49, was treated at a hospital and released. He couldn't be reached for comment.

The plane's front propeller broke off and the tail also suffered damage, according to pictures.

Tim Telford, a photographer who captures skydivers landing, said Frost was among nearly a dozen jumpers coming off the Skydive Tampa Bay plane at the time.

"I could hear the plane coming, and I thought I would just get a close shot of the plane and skydiver being scary-close," Telford told The Times. "I turned and just stood on the trigger."

The result was a series of dramatic photos.

-- Los Angeles Times

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 9, 2014 A4

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