March 10, 2014 at 8:40 AM ET
A small plane that clipped the strings of a skydiver's parachute sent both the pilot and the jumper tumbling to the ground over the weekend. Both men survived with minor injuries but are now blaming each other for the accident.
The horrifying mid-air collision occurred Saturday outside of Tampa, Fla., as the skydiver was just feet away from landing on the ground. The plane was taking off nearby and got entangled into the parachute strings, flinging the skydiver through the air and sending the plane nose-first into the ground.
"I definitely thought I wasn't going to make it," said the 49-year-old skydiver, Steve Frost, who claims the pilot was at fault. "Our pilot had seen him and contacted him directly to ensure that he knew we were going to be parachuting in the area."
The pilot, Sharon Trembley, 87, disagreed.
“He was very alert, as he is when he flies," his wife told NBC News in a statement. "He was paying attention to what was going on and knew jumpers were there … but (the jumpers) were in the wrong place,” she said.
Frost disputed that account.
“When you fly into an area with parachutists all over, you have that high potential of killing somebody,” he said.
Federal authorities are investigating the collision, which was caught in a series of dramatic photographs by Tim Telford.
"I just stared through the lens like, is this really happening? I just couldn't believe it,” Telford said.
Ironically, the collision happened on National Parachuting Safety Day.