VALMEYER, Ill. -- A pilot parachuted to safety from a damaged airplane before it crashed in a southern Illinois cornfield.
The Belleville News Democrat reports 21-year-old Shawn Kinmartin was behind the controls of the plane on Saturday when it began pitching upward after a skydiver’s parachute got caught in the plane’s tail.
Kinmartin told the newspaper that he radioed his boss at Fly Free Skydiving at the Festus Memorial Airport in Crystal City, Missouri, to tell him he was struggling to level the plane so it wouldn’t stall.
"I was trying to see if I could land the aircraft by pulling back the controls to flare but at that point I realized I couldn't so landing wouldn't be possible or it would be very rough," Kinmartin said.
When he realized he would not be able to get the Cessna back to the airport, Kinmartin put on a parachute and headed for a remote location. He jumped when the plane was about 1,500 feet above the ground.
Nobody was injured. The plane was significantly damaged.