Skydivers Cheat Death With Early Jump

13 escape just moments before plane crashes into lake
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 7, 2015 8:10 AM CST
Skydivers Jump for Lives as Plane Nose-Dives
A police boat circles a crashed plane in Lake Taupo in New Zealand today.   (AP Photo/New Zealand Herald, Alan Gibson)

They went out to skydive for fun and ended up leaping for their lives. The pilot and all 12 skydivers on a light plane escaped without serious injury after the aircraft suffered engine failure and crashed into a lake in New Zealand today, the BBC reports. Officials say the plane was more than 4,000 feet up when it lost power and the pilot gave the order to evacuate. Six crew members jumped in tandem with six passengers as planned and the pilot was the last one out before the plane nose-dived into Lake Taupo.

A witness tells the New Zealand Herald that he heard a loud bang from the plane and the skydivers started jumping out just 15 seconds later. He says the pilot, who landed in blackberry bushes, got out just moments before the aircraft hit the lake. The witness says that after calling emergency services, he took his boat out on the lake and dived down to see if anyone was trapped in the wreckage before taking the skydivers—one of whom was "pretty shaken"—from their landing spots on the shore to a beach where rescuers had arrived. "It was pretty amazing that they could get out, it's amazing that they're safe," he says. (In this fatal crash, three people were able to jump to safety using parachutes.)

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