An Unusual Midair Collision

Photo source: Tim Telford, via Polk County Sheriff’s Office

On Saturday, March 8, a Cessna was flying touch-and-goes at the South Lakeland Airport [X49]. On his third pass, the 87-year-old Cessna pilot  snagged a parachute. The collision dragged    the parachutist through the air, and caused the Cessna to turn 180-degrees right then nosedive to a hard landing. Both the pilot and the 49-year-old parachutist were taken to the hospital. The parachutist was treated and released, while the pilot was held longer for observation. The accident happened on the U.S. Parachute Association’s ‘Skydiving Safety Day’. USPA reports that in 2013 there were 24 parachute fatalities in the U.S.