An online skydiving logbook

October 28, 2007

Shit happens

No instruction today, no arrangements to do 4-way, or 16-way, or anything. Just showing up. From the moment I walk into the hangar, Maus looks at me, and I say "yes, first load?" It turns out we are 7, different skill levels, but a very nice jump.

For the next jump, our group has increased to 10, it gets more difficult to organise a jump that is challenging as well as within reach for everybody. We only do 4 points. Better split it up for the next jump.

We split into a 4-way and a 6-way. I'm on the 6-way, and we can brief a more complex jump now. I propose an open accordion exit, and one of the others (whom I never saw before this morning, this is only our second jump together) asks if I am quite sure about that exit. A few minutes later, back on the ground, he agrees that it is indeed not a difficult exit, if everybody does his job and flies his slot. The whole jump was smooth and very nice.

Another 6-way. We exit a star (we funnel it), then donut flake -> donut flake, and we continue with an inter to in-out. Next is a full donut, and back to one. We recover well after the funnel exit, and there is real rhythm in the jump. Under canopy, I am still smiling. I don't go for the usual in-front-of-the-hangar landing, because it is a bit turbulent there, I decide to fly a good 50 meter further away. While I retire from the landing pattern, I see something in the corner of my eye. There is someone under a partly open main, with the reserve hanging out of the harness, not inflated. It was the AAD firing that caught my eye. Things go quickly now. The reserve inflates, but not completely, both canopies are intertwined, it becomes a kind of downplane with two half inflated canopies. It goes down fast (much faster than me anyway) and it spins fast. Ooh shit, too low for cutaway now, ooh fucking big shit. He hits the ground. He must be dead. I fly towards the spot, land some 50 m short. I see Erwin a bit further, already on his mobile phone, so I run towards him. I expect to find a broken body, but he is conscious, he talks ("my canopy spiralled, I don't know what happened, it spiralled so fast" and so on). No visible injuries at first sight. Woow, that's one lucky bastard. It is the same guy I told you about last week, when I saw him having a line-over and cutaway. His leg is caught up in the lines of the reserve. So that's why he went down with it.

We later hear he has some back injuries, but nothing too serious. I wasn't on duty, and I'm not a rigger, so no paperwork or talking to the police for me this time. Just a few beers. By the time I leave, the police are still taking statements (this is parachute-murder country, they want to make absolutely sure there is no sabotage involved), and somebody has put a few stickers with the club's logo on their car :-).

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