PHOENIX — A skydiver went into a headlong dive to catch up with an unconscious colleague and open her parachute seconds before she would have struck the ground.
Diane Williams was about 3,500 feet, or 10 seconds, from the ground, when Gregory Robertson pulled out of his rescue dive, propped her into an upright position, yanked her ripcord, then released his own chute, Robertson and witnesses said.
Williams, 31, of Slaton, Tex., and a veteran of about 50 jumps, was knocked unconscious when she collided with another diver, Guy Fitzwater of Van Nuys, Calif., during a formation drop Saturday near Coolidge, about 50 miles southeast of Phoenix.
Fitzwater remained conscious but had a rough landing that left him bruised.
Williams, Fitzwater and four others were to have linked hands after jumping from a plane at about 13,500 feet. Robertson, 25, who says he has made about 1,500 jumps, was in charge of the drop.