Details Uncertain As To Cause – Four Jumpers Bailed, Pilot Severely Injured
A late Saturday afternoon flight in a FreeFall Express Skydiving Cessna 206 has resulted in 2 deaths after the aircraft went down shortly after takeoff, in Mt. Vernon, MO.
According to local reports, the aircraft carried a load of seven people but the operator claims that the load was within the operational capabilities of the aircraft… The pilot stayed with the aircraft and is alive but seriously injured while four skydivers successfully exited the aircraft with no significant injuries. A fifth jumper was found at the crash scene with her chute wrapped over the horizontal stabilizer while a sixth was found in the aircraft, deceased.
The only real information to be had at this point comes from local media sources… who seem to be a mite confused over whether the aircraft stalled or the engine “stalled” in the reports thus far published. Pictures from the impact site show the aircraft impacted nearly vertically amongst a stand of trees but that the aft part of the cabin/fuselage is surprisingly intact. Still, what little seems to be known with any certainty is that the aircraft had departed from the field used by the Drop Zone and the impact area is listed as some two miles from the Mt. Vernon Airport.
ANN E-I-C Note: Late Sunday reports from local media have added some details, though they have yet to be confirmed by official sources with the FAA or NTSB. Those reports indicate that the aircraft reached 10,000 feet when it experienced some form of loss of control.
Confirmed as deceased in this accident are Marnie Fuller (36) and Jennifer Collins (32), both of whom were listed as P/T staffers for Freefall Express, each with several hundred jumps to their credit.
The pilot, 32 year-old Jason Rog, was listed in critical condition throughout Saturday but prognosis has improved and his condition has been upgraded to serious. ANN extends its condolences and prayers to all those at FreeFall Express… which we know to be a safety-conscious DZ.