Although Shawn Kinmartin flies planes for a skydiving service, he hadn't done any skydiving himself - that is until he had to make an emergency jump on Saturday.
On his fourth flight of the day taking jumpers up, Kinmartin was cruising at 11,500 feet over eastern Missouri and southern Illinois when he realized that his final skydiving client had damaged a key piece of gear while jumping out of the plane. During the jump, the skydiver struck the elevator of the aircraft, a part of a plane's tail that controls its ability to climb and descent.
For the next ten minutes, Kinmartin struggled to fly the aircraft back to an airport in Festus, about 35 miles south of St. Louis. But the pilot knew that the damage was causing him to lose control of the Cessna 182. So he headed towards farm fields to make an emergency jump. Wearing a parachute, the 21-year-old pilot made his way out of the aircraft before it crashed.
"When I jumped out of the aircraft it was at 2,000 feet, so I only had 1,500 feet left till the ground," Kinmartin told CNN's St. Louis affiliate KSDK. "And when I hit the ground the plane spiraled and crashed into the field."
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