The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released its final report on the collision of two planes carrying nine skydivers and two pilots in Superior, Wis. in November of 2013. The report revealed information that pilot error spurred by inadequate training was the probable cause of the crash.
One aircraft was destroyed, one was crippled, and luckily, no one was seriously hurt. Mike Robinson, one of the skydivers, said the two planes were filled flying in tandem for a team jump when something went wrong and the trailing plane ran into the aircraft flying in front, both traveling at about 100 mph.
The jumpers prepared to exit anyway as the front aircraft caught on fire and shattered into pieces. Somehow, the pilot got out -- he was strapped into an emergency parachute. Both planes were nearly 12,000 feet above ground during the collision.
The NTSB cited the Federation Aviation Administration's lack of guidance on how pilots should fly formation flights with skydivers. Its investigation into the collision determined that the owner of the skydiving company did not provide skydiving formation flight training for its pilots, and did not keep records of pilot training.
"If both pilots had received adequate skydiving formation flight training, they might have had a consensus about how the formation flight should have been flown," the report said. "If the trail airplane pilot had received such training, he might have been more vigilant about maintaining adequate lateral and vertical separation from the lead airplane during the flight."
The report went on to say “even though none of the pilots stated that the trail airplane should be flown higher than the lead airplane, a video taken of the flight showed that the trail airplane pilot flew the trail airplane higher than the lead airplane until impact.”
The skydivers who recorded the incident sold the video footage for $100,000 to NBC News.