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Sky Diver Rescues Buddy In Midfall, 10 Seconds Before Impact

October 19, 1988

CLEWISTON, Fla. (AP) _ A sky diver who saw his partner knocked unconscious and ″flapping like a rag doll″ 13,000 feet up managed to swim through the air and open his chute seconds before they would have crashed.

Veteran sky diver Eddie Turner said he pressed himself into the shape of a torpedo and plunged headfirst to catch up to Frank Farnan about 2,000 feet above the ground. He yanked the rip cord on Farnan’s reserve chute, then his own.

″I estimate we had a little less than 10 seconds before we both would have hit the ground,″ Turner said.

Farnan, 45, suffered a concussion and a few bruises. Turner was unharmed.

The drama occurred Sunday as 12 sky divers practiced a star formation for a Thanksgiving competition.

One of the last jumpers out of the plane, flying at about 13,000 feet, crashed into Farnan’s helmeted head, knocking him unconscious. Farnan plummeted past the formation toward earth.

″He was flapping like a rag doll,″ said Turner, a 33-year-old airline pilot from Catawba, N.C., and a veteran of 500 jumps.

″I started flying closer to him and grabbed one of his legs and reached and grabbed his cord and ripped it open and the chute came open,″ he said. ″After I pulled the cord, there was nothing to do but save myself.″

″It’s just a miracle,″ said Farnan, recuperating Tuesday at his Lake Worth home. ″I hardly remember a thing, but I know I’m darn lucky.″

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