It was morning in the month of May in Arizona. The sun was hot and it was tiled blue sky. Scorpion Bay was glistening due to bright sunlight.
At 9:30 a.m., Two friends Patrick, 23 years blond haired and Antony 25 years from Georgia had boarded a transport aircraft for a parachute jump. Michael was a professional pilot with a experience of more than 20 years, was putting the plane under observation. Charlie an aviation machinist was checking out the aircraft that was scheduled to fly.
After about half an hour, the aircraft took off with the crew. Michael would instruct Patrick and Antony at some point in the air to jump from the plane.
I took around 20 minutes to reach in the air at height of 3000 feet above sea level.
“Are you ready for jump?” Michael asked.
“Yes!” patrick and Antony replied.
Michael opened the door.
As Patrick jumped, the automatic release-cord became looped. His parachute was ripped open. He tried to grab hold quickly and was jerked from the plane. Patrick parachute wrapped itself around the plane’s tail.
Dangling upside down, plane was pulling him in one way and the emergency parachute pulling him in another. He did not release his emergency parachute because he felt that he may be torn in half.
Inside the plane, the crew was trying hard to pull Patrick to safety, but could not make it. Antony was very much worried The plane was low on fuel and emergency landing could lead to Patrick’s death. Michael tried for radio contact, but it was not working.
To attract the attention fr0m base, he took the plane to about 350 feet below and formed a circular path. Some people noticed from the base, the plane was coming down after every few minutes.
At the same time, a plane had landed on the base and two pilots Craig and Jerry were walking towards the office. Craig noticed a figure dangling from the plane.
“There’s a man hanging on the plane?” Craig yelled to Jerry.
“Yes.” Jerry replied.
“I think we must get him.” Craig said.
“We must try.” Jerry said.
Craig shouted to one of his mechanics to get the plane ready for take off. It was two seater, open cockpit, propeller plane.
There was no time to take permission from the commanding officer. Craig simply told the tower, “Give us green light. We are taking off.” A mechanic came running to the plane with a hunting knife for cutting Patrick’s loose harness and handed over to Jerry. Craig and Jerry took it off. They took it for granted and were going to attempt the impossible mission.
Civilians crowded rooftops, children stopped playing and staff were looking upwards. All activities seemed to stop. Everybody was praying from their hearts. All eyes were in the sky.
After a few minutes, Craig and jerry were under the Michael’s plane at a height of 350 feet. They made many approaches for Patrick. The air currents were very strong for a rescue. The radio communication between Craig and Michael was not possible. Craig hand-signalled Michael to go more ahead where the air currents will be smoother. Michael moved straight and reduced the speed of his plane at about 100 mph.
Craig moved the plane close to Patrick. “Patrick is just one foot away. We need to get closer.” Jerry said.
Finally, Craig slipped the upper right wing under the Patrick. With the plane still going 100 mph, now at a height of 2500 mph. Jerry grabbed Patrick’s waist and pulled him into plane and cut the looped harness of Patrick with the knife. He held Jerry’s shoulder tightly. Since, it was two seater plane, the next challenge was where to put him.
Craig nosed his plane inch by inch closer to the transport aircraft with a great precision, Now the crew grabbed Patrick into their plane. After battling for about half an hour, Patrick was free. It was a question of life and death.
Five minutes later, Craig and Jerry landed on the base, followed by the transport aircraft. Patrick was immediately taken for medical check up. He did not get serious injuries. Doctor instructed him to take rest for few days.
The news spread quickly to the public that Patrick survived. Four weeks later, both pilots Craig and Jerry were flown to Washington D.C. where they were awarded for one of the most brilliant and daring rescues in aviation history.
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