FESTUS, Ill., June 15 (UPI) -- A pilot for a skydiving company in Illinois jumped in his first-ever skydive Saturday, but only because the plane he was flying was about to crash.
Shawn Kinmartin, 21, a pilot for Fly Free Skydiving in Festus, Ill., had to parachute out of his Cessna 182 after his fourth skydiving run of the day.
"The two skydivers jumped out, they were the last two I had in my airplane," he said. "The last skydiver, on his way out, struck the elevator of the aircraft."
Kinmartin said he battled with keeping control of the plane for 10 minutes on his way back to the air field, but turned back around toward the some fields when he realized he'd never make it.
He was already wearing a parachute due to company policy and jumped out over a soybean field.
"When I jumped out of the airplane, it was at 2,000 feet -- so I only had 1,500 feet to the ground," he said. "And when I jumped out of the airplane, it spiraled and crashed into the field over there. The wing carried me and I landed on this soybean field over there."
"The plane is completely destroyed," Kinmartin added. "If I was inside the plane when it crashed the way it did I wouldn't be standing here."