Parachute Mishap Causes Crash, Kills 1

A single-engine plane that had been carrying members of a parachuting club crashed into a bean field west of this central Illinois city, killing one man whose parachute got tangled in the plane.

The pilot and four other club members jumped to safety.

Investigators were trying to determine Monday whether the plane had stalled as club members prepared to jump.

Bill Jensen, 38, of Springfield died in the crash Sunday a quarter-mile west of Taylorville Municipal Airport (search), about 25 miles southeast of Springfield, Taylorville Police Chief Greg Brotherton said.

Jensen was jumping from the Cessna 206 (search) aircraft with other members of the Taylorville-based Mid-America Sport Parachute Club (search), according to Brotherton and the Federal Aviation Administration (search).

The crash is being investigated by the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (search).

FAA spokesman Elizabeth Isham Cory said preliminary reports indicate Jensen's parachute deployed prematurely and became tangled around the tail of the plane, causing it to spiral to the ground from about 10,000 feet.

Brotherton, however, said survivors reported the plane stalled as they were preparing to jump. Jensen's parachute caught in the plane's tail as it began its spin, while the other five aboard jumped to safety, the chief said.

Cory said preliminary reports from FAA investigators indicate no mechanical problems.

"From our standpoint, that's where it stands right now. That could change," Cory said.

Calls to the NTSB, which is leading the investigation, were not immediately returned.

Brotherton said the survivors were from Springfield, Jacksonville and Farmersville. He said one jumper received minor injuries. He declined to give their names.

No one on the ground was hurt in the crash, authorities said.