Pilot who survived being shocked is off on new venture

Jonathan Kassebaum during interview with Mary Baer (WJXT)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – He’s flown in five countries and has crossed the Atlantic Ocean twice, and on Monday, a fighter pilot who survived being shocked in the family’s pool is off on a new venture.

The family of Lt. Col. Jonathan Kassebaum, a member of the Air National Guard, shared with News4Jax his fini-flight. The flight is a celebration with friends and family of the hard work and countless hours pilots devote to their aircraft.

You might remember last year when the father of three was shocked and nearly drowned in the family’s backyard pool.

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“This is the only part that I do remember, which is my daughter came out. My daughter, she came out of the door, and I just said, ‘Help me,’” Kassebaum said in the January 2020 interview.

Kassebaum’s heart stopped. He was trapped underwater and went minutes without oxygen.

But he survived.

Now, after recovering and getting back in the air, Kassebaum -- who is also a minister at a church in St. Johns County -- is starting a new chapter, saying in statement:

“I’ve had the privilege of doing and seeing things most people will never get the opportunity to. I’m thankful for that, and I’m thankful that God has protected me all these years. It’s a bittersweet decision, but it was time to shift priorities in my life, for my wife and my girls, and for the church.”

His wife Melissa told News4Jax that he will continue to serve in the 125th Fighter Wing with the Florida Air National Guard as the director of conversion.


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