We've lauded GoPros before for their ability to represent sights we'd never ordinarily see. An army of extreme athletes toil to catch the perfect wave or land the perfect jump, to be captured and locked into pixels forever by a miniscule mounted camera. But while we've now witnessed thousands of tricks gone perfectly right, the bitter arithmetic of human error combined with multiple, persistent recordings means we'll be treated in the future to plenty of viewings of awful things happening too. (Witness NYC's horrifying Bikers-vs.-SUV-driver incident, for instance.)
This footage below, shot on Saturday and destined to go viral this week, is something in between miraculous and awful. At 12,000 feet over Wisconsin, two planes filled with skydivers collide; one plane explodes; skydivers from both go tumbling unexpectedly into the sky. You can even see one guy trying to hang on to a wing strut before the wind rips him away. And what happens to the pilots? It is nothing short of amazing:
No less than five of the skydivers—Mike Robinson, Amy Olson, John Rodrigo, Patricia Roy and Chad Ebling—were wearing helmet-cams that were on as the accident occurred, resulting in the news teams being able to whack the footage up from multiple points of view, providing an entirely new type of spectacle. [NBC licensed the footage for exclusive use, so their cut is going to the only game in town.] We've seen footage of a GoPro camera being dropped from an airplane before and surviving the fall; it's nice to see the same happen with a group of eleven human beings.