Page last updated at 15:06 GMT, Monday, 2 June 2008 16:06 UK

Skydiving plane fails at 7,000ft

Indiana map

Fifteen people have escaped unharmed in the US state of Indiana after a sky-diving plane lost power 7,000ft (2,100m) from the ground.

The pilot told the 14 skydivers to jump to safety, then crash-landed the plane and crawled out of the wreckage.

The malfunction caused oil to spray on the windscreen, limiting the pilot's visibility, and he lost manual control. The plane found the runway but overshot ending up in a cornfield, turning over as its propellers hit the ground.

The parachutists, who all landed without incident, were able to watch the plane's descent, near the town of Greensburg.

It's a loss, but 15 people walked away because everybody performed professionally
Bob Dougherty
SkyDive Greensburg

Bob Dougherty, who owns the company SkyDive Greensburg, said the plane was climbing when the engine cut out.

The pilot levelled off the plane at 5,000ft so that the jumpers could evacuate the plane.

With thick smoke and oil from the engine affecting his field of vision, the pilot tried to steer the plane back.

"He just ran out of runway, but he was able to put the plane in a place where nobody would get hurt," Mr Dougherty told the Greensburg Daily News newspaper.

"It's a loss, but 15 people walked away because everybody performed professionally," he said.

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