Four skydivers practicing for the Australian Masters Games have narrowly avoided crashing aboard the Cessna 182 H.
On Friday the four skydivers and their pilot, John, had taken off from East Parklands. One of the skydivers, David Boulter, 57, looked out the window to see the roof of the Queen Victoria apartments on Fullarton Road, “mere feet away.”
“I looked to the right and saw trees … We’d have been creeping over it (the canopy).
“We were in the safety zone. If we were two feet to the right it (the canopy) would shred the wings … there would have been five fatalities.”
Their Cessna had taken off from Parafield Airport, but had been forced to circle over the drop zone for an hour because of the busy airspace.
It was when they returned to the drop zone (over Victoria Park) that the trouble began.
An engine stopped, the aeroplane began gliding, losing altitude. It fell from 3500 feet to ground level in three minutes.
John, the pilot, was preparing an emergency landing on the Clipsal 500 track, but diverted to Victoria Park when he spotted a council truck on the roadway.
Mr Boulter didn’t think the plane ran out of fuel.
Fellow skydiver John Friswell, 63, said, “We heard the engine splutter … and we’re preparing to jump.
“But the pilot said, ‘No, no, stay in the plane’”.
All the skydivers praised the pilot’s efforts. Mr Boulter suffered a fractured foot, the fourth skydiver a broken pelvis, everyone else minor injuries.
They all agreed, it could have been a lot worse.