Sportsdesk | September 17, 2013
An English minor league match was halted at the weekend when a parachutist landed in the middle of the pitch.
To the amazement of the Salisbury City and Chester FC players, and the 1,000 fans inside the stadium, the airborne invader touched down in the second half.
He then calmly packed up his chute and walked off to applause from the supporters. Former Stoke City defender Danny Higginbotham, now playing for fifth-tier Chester, said it was one of the strangest things he had seen in his long career.
“The most bizarre thing I have ever seen on a football pitch happened today,” he said on Twitter.
“Half way through the second half out of nowhere a parachutist landed on the pitch. No idea where he was supposed to land but he hit the ground hard. #bizarre.”
Parachutists have interrupted sporting contests before, most famously during a heavyweight boxing clash between Riddick Bowe and Evander Holyfield in 1993.
That particular interloper’s arrival was less popular though as he was set upon by members of the audience in Las Vegas.
A parachutist died in 2008 when he crash-landed in the stadium before an under-18 international between France and Ukraine in Orleans.
Last February, a powered glider ploughed into fans at the Al Ain-Al Wahda derby at the Tahnoun bin Mohammed Stadium in Al Ain, injuring nine people.
The glider was one of two taking part in a show put on by the club and Al Ain’s fan club, which the General Civil Aviation Authority said was not authorised.
The pilot broke a leg, fractured a pelvis and punctured a lung in the crash.