Mulberry, Florida -- Images show a stunning accident after a plane became entangled in the strings of a skydiver's parachute, send both crashing to the ground in Polk County. Amazingly, neither the parachutist nor the pilot were seriously injured.
It happened around 11 a.m. Saturday, when 87-year-old Sharon Trembley was doing takeoff and landing maneuvers in his private Cessna airplane from the South Lakeland Airport.
The Polk County Sheriff's Office says that on Trembley's third pass, the passenger-side wing of his plane became entangled in and then cut the strings of skydiving parachutist John S. Frost while they were less than 75 feet in the air.
Frost, 49, was flung to the ground and the plane nose-dived and crashed into the surface as well.
Dramatic pictures taken by photographer Tim Telford and distributed by the Sheriff's Office capture the moment of impact between Trembley and Frost.
"Thought I'd have very exciting pics of a close flyby," Telford tells 10 News. "Never in a million years did I think I'd see what I saw."
Both men were transported by ambulance to Lakeland Regional Medical Center. Frost was treated and released, while Trembley was held for observation. Neither were seriously hurt.
Telford calls that a miracle. "The plane caught the side of the canopy, flipped the plane 180 degrees and flipped the skydiver into the air. You heard the airplane hit the parachute, which sounded like you falling on your face into your pillow; a 'woof' sound."
Telford wasn't the only witness with an unusual view; other skydivers were still trying to land safely.
By coincidence, Saturday's accident happened on the U.S. Parachute Association's skydiving Safety Day!
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