ACAMPO, CA (KTRK) --Video captured the dramatic and terrifying moments before a plane carrying 17 skydivers and a pilot crashed.
The pilot and skydivers had just taken off from Lodi Airport in California on Thursday around 2pm. The plane in which they were traveling started experiencing engine trouble, the Federal Aviation Administration said.
The plane was flying too low for the divers to jump out. The pilot tried turned the plane back to the airport. The plane clipped a truck as it approached the runway and crashed just off the airport, landing upside down in a vineyard.
"I heard a crash behind me and looked up, saw the plane cartwheeling, saw the tail above the grapevines," Kevin Conklin told ABC10, "Pretty wild."
The skydivers' helmet-mounted GoPro cameras captured their sheer terror and panic as the plane plummeted to the earth. As the plane flipped on its side, the skydivers found themselves piled on top of each other in the chaos.
"Next thing we know someone is freaking out in the back of the plane screaming," skydiver T.J. Landgren said. "I started to hear vines rip and it was a matter of seconds. ... I didn't think I was going home."
Witnesses and rescue workers credited the pilot for avoiding power lines as well as homes as the plane dropped from the sky. No one was seriously hurt on the plane.
"If it wasn't for the pilot, we wouldn't have made it," Landgren said. "Our lives were in his hands."
Rescuers found the pilot and skydivers standing around at the crash site.
The FAA said the pilot suffered minor injuries, but no one on the ground was injured.
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board said they were investigating the crash.