New Zealand Skydiving Plane Crashes, 13 Jump To Safety

All 13 passengers aboard a skydiving plane in New Zealand leapt from the aircraft after it experienced an apparent engine failure on Wednesday, before crashing into a lake.

According to Yahoo! News, police spokeswoman Kim Perks noted that there were six passengers and six crew members aboard the plane, as well as the pilot. No injuries were reported, despite the fact that only the skydiving instructors had strapped into their parachutes when the plane experienced trouble at 2,000 feet, shortly after takeoff.

“The plane just made a big bang and then it stopped,” Roy Clements, the chief executive of plane operator Skydive Taupo said. “The pilot told them to get out. He didn’t have to tell them twice.”

Each of the passengers, all overseas tourists, had been assigned an instructor for a tandem skydive, and had planned to jump at heights of 12,000 and 15,000 feet. When the plane stopped, each instructor had to quickly clip their passenger’s harness in four places before diving.

Clements said that everyone remained calm during the incident, possibly not understanding the extent of the danger they were in at the time. According to CBS News, all of the skydivers managed to maneuver their parachutes over the lake and land on the beach or shoreline. The plane, a New Zealand-built Pacific Aerospace Ltd. P-750 XL, crashed into Lake Taupo.

Robbie Graham, a local artist, was standing in front of the Wildwood Art Gallery, in the town of Waitahanui, when he spied the skydivers exiting the plane en masse. Though he didn’t witness the crash, he watched as the group landed, about a half a mile away from him.

“I saw all these people coming down, and I thought that was a crazy place to be coming down, that they would all end up in the lake,” he observed.

In 2013, a group of skydivers in Wisconsin narrowly escaped disaster after a mid-air collision between two planes. Despite their hurried exit and the loss of both aircraft, all 11 skydivers managed to reach the ground safely, as the Inquisitr previously reported.

Transportation accident investigators are on their way to the site in New Zealand, planning to investigate what caused the skydiving plane to crash.

[Image via Emirates 24/7]

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