Jump Plane Rolled Inverted Before Fatal Crash

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A dozen skydivers aboard a Beech 18 jumped for their lives as the aircraft suddenly rolled inverted and ultimately crashed in a residential area of Taylorville, Ill., on Aug. 10, killing the pilot. As we reported on the day of the crash, pilot Brandon Sparrow, 30, of Augusta, Ill., was unable to get the big twin under control and it crashed in the back yard of a home. There were no injuries on the ground or among the skydivers, who told the NTSB they heard the stall horn sound as they prepared to exit the aircraft at 11,000 feet.

The jumpers told the board the aircraft began to roll and one of them gave the "go, go, go" command and all managed to get out. The last ones out said the airplane was at least partly inverted as they jumped. Witnesses on the ground told the board the aircraft descended inverted and seemed to briefly recover before entering a vertical dive and plunging into the yard of a home that was occupied at the time. The neighborhood was evacuated because of the strong smell of gasoline but there was no fire. Several of the jumpers had helmet-mounted cameras and the video is being analyzed by the NTSB.