Mid-Air Rescue

“But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.” — Jude 1:20-21

An older issue of Reader’s Digest detailed the story of two pilots who miraculously saved a man dangling between life and death. These three men, Walter Osipoff, a seasoned parachutist, Lt. Bill Lowery, a Navy test pilot and John McCants, an aviation chief machinist’s mate, are forever linked together in one of history’s most spectacular mid-air rescues.

Osipoff, with more than 20 jumps under his belt, left that morning on his DC-2 planning to supervise the practice jumps of 12 of his men. Jumps in which three separate canvas cylinders containing ammunition and rifles would also be parachuted overboard as part of their exercise.

Once nine of his men had jumped, Osipoff started to throw out the last cargo container, but the automatic-release cord of his backpack parachute somehow looped over the cylinder, and his chute ripped open. Sucked from the plane, Osipoff found himself hanging upside down with the open parachute wrapped around the tail of the plane with only four parachute shroud lines twisted around his left leg holding him above the earth.

His DC-2 crew could not reach him and had no radio contact with the ground. The DC-2 pilot slowly dropped down to 300 feet and circled. On the ground, Lowrey and McCants saw the figure dangling from the plane. Lowrey yelled to McCants, “There’s a man hanging on that line. Do you suppose we can get him?” McCants answered, “We can try.”

With faith, determination and a lot of maneuvering, these two men took off again and through expert flying and maneuvering around the other plane –  saved Osipoff’s life. He spent the next six months in the hospital, recovered completely and went back to parachute jumping.

Today’s One Thing

How can you be sure you are always ready to step up and do the impossible should the need arise?



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