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Sun, Apr 24, 2005

Skydiver Dies After Mid-Air With Plane

Tragic Collision Occurs Between Parachutist and Jump Plane

Albert "Gus" Wing III, 55, died Saturday after being struck by the jump plane in Deland, FL. Wing and the plane, a DHC-6 Twin Otter were both descending over the airport when they collided (File Photo, below).

Mr. Wing and the left wing of the plane collided about 600 feet above the ground. The impact severed Wing's legs at the knees, but he was able to maneuver his parachute to land near the airport. He was airlifted to a hospital, but later died according to Commander Rachel Henderson of the Deland Police Department speaking to the AP.

The plane managed to land safely with damage to its left wing.

"There are about 15 million jumps every year," said Mike Johnston, general manager of Skydive DeLand, to the Daytona Beach News Journal. "I only know of one other case where a sky diver was struck by an airplane."

Wing was a skydiving cinematographer but no camera was found at the scene. They are unsure if he was filming at the time the accident occurred. According to an FAA official, fourteen other parachute jumpers were in the air at the time. The FAA and NTSB are investigating the accident.

FMI: www.skydivedeland.com, www.ntsb.gov

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