A pair of skydivers in the U.K. narrowly escaped a fatal collision with two US F15 fighter jets that invaded into their airspace.
The parachutists have not yet been identified but according to the sources, they are alive and unharmed. At the time of the collision, they were in free fall at around 120mph when the two F-15 fighter jets wafted beneath them, CNN reported.
The miss by a slim margin was captured by a GoPro camera attached to the helmet of one of the skydivers, according to a report by the UK Airprox Board, which supervises such incidents. The report’s author further elucidated that the parachutist had understood that the risk of collision was ‘medium’.
The skydivers had 10 kilometers visibility in an evidently clear weather while the pilots could see up to 50 kilometers with clarity. While the skydivers had taken off from Chatteris Airfield in Cambridgeshire in April 17, the jets began their journey from the Royal Air Force (RAF) base in Lakenheath, Suffolk, home to the US Air Force’s 48th Fighter Wing.
It is an imperative for the aircraft operators in the area to know that skydivers could be in flight as the RAF base receives a routine call every morning to inform them of any activity, the report revealed. Further, designated parachute land zones must be marked on aviation charts too to thwart the possibility of any such collisions.
The jets were travelling at 350 mph, way below their maximum speed of 1,600 mph but still, the collision would have been enough to subject the skydivers to instant death, according to The Sun.
One of the pilots told the investigators that he was not aware of the skydiving activity at Chatteris as the air traffic control didn’t inform. He believed that this is completely unacceptable and immediate steps should be taken to prevent such incidents, the report revealed.
The recently published report reads: “When asked whether the pilots should be aware of Chatteris, the board were told that it was included in their arrival training at Lakenheath, and that, as a result of this incident, the unit was re-briefing all of its crews to ensure they were all aware of its status.”
The report also had shed light on the other reasons at play behind the breakdown in communication. Owing to the heavy workload, the Lakenheath air traffic control might also have lost sight of it, the report revealed.