Normally passengers stay with the airplane during a loss of power incident, but on Saturday in Hoke County, NC the rules were rewritten. Around noon a Cessna 206 (similar airplane pictured) took off with four jumpers aboard heading out to a parachute demonstration in Fayetteville. The plane experienced a power loss climbing through 1,100 feet which prompted the skydivers to exit the aircraft. All four landed safely in a field near the future site of the Hoke Community Hospital, while the pilot made a successful dead-stick landing in a field about a half mile away with no injuries reported.
The Fayetteville Observer reported one of the skydivers, 43-year-old Mike Elliott, said "What we do is inherently dangerous. You prepare for every possible thing that could go wrong." Elliott is a retired soldier who runs the Veteran Parachute Team. "Most of us are former (Fort Bragg) Golden Knights. We pride ourselves on safety. We were able to make a bad situation good that saved our lives."
Elliott knew the pilot’s name only as Kevin, while the aircraft belonged to Daniel Briggs of Pinehurst who could not be reached for comment. The pilot was able to restore power as the NC Highway Patrol escorted the aircraft as it taxied on roads back to the airport.