Culture

Skydiver dangles under plane for an hour, survives

Commentary: In Denmark, a skydiver gets entangled with cables under a plane. The pilot has no idea he's there, until he gets a message.

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Skydiving isn't perfectly safe.

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We find daredevil acts exciting, even if we just watch them, or imagine we're doing them in video games.

Skydiving is one of those pursuits that fills us with adrenaline. Hey, you can even skydive and play video games at the same time.

It's still dangerous, as one Danish skydiver discovered. The Local reports that as he jumped from the plane, his foot got caught in a cable.

This left the 45-year-old man dangling beneath the plane at 2,500 meters (around 8,200 feet), with no obvious means of escape.

Worse, the pilot didn't know he was there. Until, that is, the diving instructor -- who had jumped before the dangling man -- looked up and saw what had happened. The Local says police told the news agency Ritzau that the instructor radioed the pilot, who suddenly realized the magnitude of the problem.

Of course, skydivers have gotten into difficulties in midair before -- such as the one who lost his shoe but managed to catch up with it and grab it again.

Here, though, the plane was already down to 500 meters. It had to climb again, to give the hanging skydiver time to open his parachute, in case he dislodged himself.

A helicopter ambulance was sent up. The next step for the pilot was to burn fuel and, on the dangling diver's signal, prepare to land at Lindtorp Airfield.

As the Jyllands-Posten newspaper reports, the skydiver dangled for an hour under the plane.

The pilot told TV MidTvest that though he'd been flying since 1980, he'd never experienced anything like this.

He tried to land as slowly as he could. Which was made more difficult, as the sun was beginning to set. Fire crews laid out foam on the airstrip, to make the landing a little softer.

The pilot said that as he landed, he wondered whether he was about to kill a man. As it turns out, the Local said the skydiver had no more than a scratch and a groin strain.

I wonder how soon he'll go skydiving again.

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