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The pilot of a paraglider dropping leaflets with a message about abortion severed two fingers in his aircraft’s propeller blades before crashing onto a high-school campus.


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Michael Grumbine treated by paramedics for severed fingers (Whittier Daily News)

According to California’s Whittier Daily News, Michael Grumbine was flying a Paralite Sky Cruiser over La Serna High School during sixth period Thursday, releasing bright yellow, pennant-shaped leaflets referring to anti-abortion protesters who had graphic displays in front of the school.

Part of the message on the leaflets read, “You are in the Matrix. Truth is evil. Abortion is good. There are people in front of school with signs and pictures right now that you must not look at. They will show you things you must not see. You must not talk to them.”

Whittier police Sgt. Dan Lowe told the paper one of the leaflets got caught in the netting that separated Grumbine from the propeller, and when Grumbine tried to grab it with his right hand, his index and middle fingers were sliced off.

The pilot and his craft then tumbled out of the sky, striking a tree and fence near the freshman baseball fields on campus. No one at the school was injured, but Grumbine was transported to UCI Medical Center. Police said only one finger was recovered.

Principal Leo Camalich said witnesses recognized Grumbine as the parent of former La Serna students.

“By dropping those leaflets that said students shouldn’t go out to see the protest, he was basically telling the kids to go check it out in a reverse-psychology way,” Camalich told the Daily News. “That’s my intuition, at least.”

Police tended to agree with that assessment, as the pilot was reportedly known as a Christian activist who wasn’t likely to endorse abortion.

The Federal Aviation Administration was called in to investigate the incident.

“I have to believe that there must have been some sort of law broken,” Camalich told the paper. “A flying object should not be allowed to fly at such a low altitude over a school while it’s in session. There has to be a law against that.”

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