But when he saw McFadden’s legs he quickly realized it was a man falling between 500-750 feet to the Pacific below.
The Los Angeles Times reports the father of the pilot said his son tried to keep McFadden from jumping.
"When they got towards the Balboa Pier, he started to take his seat belt off and he started to open the door. My son said, 'What are you doing? What are you doing?'"
Cops say the pilot even ripped McFadden’s shirt trying to keep him from falling.
The jumper landed about 45 feet from shore and was pulled out alive but died a few hours later at a hospital.
KCAL-9 says there was a suicide note found and the man's brother confirmed McFadden had health trouble that included depression and throat disease.
—Rick Couri is an on-air personality for Tulsa radio station KRMG.