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Vol. 17 - April/May 2001 - English Edition The Magazine from Skydive World


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[Updated: April 26, 2001]                    More safety issues on pages   [1]  [2]   [3]  [4]

Fatality at Skydive Dallas

Phil Moore, 34, from Oklahoma City died April 15 after a skydiving accident at Skydive Dallas in Whitewright, Texas. On his first-ever skydive, Moore executed a normal landing approach with a fully functional parachute and for reasons unknown, he initiated a sharp turn and struck the side of the metal airplane hanger. Dropzone manager Joe Rekart reported, "The winds had him traveling about 20 mph and at the last minute, he turned. He ran with the wind and hit the building. He didn't need to turn at all. We are uncertain why he turned." Moore had completed eight hours of parachute training Saturday and spent two more hours in briefings before he went up for the jump on Sunday.

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Jan Davis Killed in Lodi

Popular camera flyer Jan Davis, 49, was killed at the Parachute Center in Lodi, California, on March 31. She was an experienced jumper with more than 3000 jumps. Jan was filming the last tandem out of an Otter, and the tandem master saw her with a spinning malfunction and subsequent cutaway. When she cutaway, her reserve bridle caught on her front-mounted still camera. The ring sight tangled with some of the lines, and the locking stows of the freebag did not release. She apparently worked on the problem all the way down. She had pulled all the handles, and had managed to remove the helmet before impact.
Authorities said it will take more time to determine what happened in the final moments of Jan Davis' life, because the video camera she was carrying broke on impact. The Federal Aviation Administration began attempting to repair a videotape that was inside the shattered camera.
More in the Sacramento Bee Story.

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BASE Fatality in Switzerland

On April 2, an experienced Belgian jumper died while BASE-jumping in Switzerland. During a 3-way with another Belgian and a French jumper, he impacted the wall probably during opening sequence. Apparently, he was back-tracking and might have lost awareness of altitude. The Air-Glacier-Doctor reached him 15 minutes later by helicopter, but the jumper was already dead.
This fatal accident, and the helicopter-rescue of another BASE jumper the day before, were strongly covered by TV channels and newspapers, and legal BASE jumping in Switzerland is in danger. In accordance with the local organizations, the Swiss BASE Association is asking everybody not to BASE jump in the Berner Oberland (area Interlaken and Meiringen) until the end of April! All foreign jumpers who had plans to go there are advised to cancel their trip to Switzerland, and spread the word. This is a serious issue, and the Swiss BASE Association needs the help of the whole BASE community to keep the area legal. If BASE jumpers don't follow this suspension of jumping, they might have a Yosemite-type situation in this area as well.

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Quebec Skydiver Killed in DeLand

Quebec Skydiver Killed in DeLand 30-year-old Canadian camera flyer Stephane "Bungee" Drapeau, an experienced skydiver from Beloeil, Quebec, was killed in a skydiving accident at Skydive DeLand in Florida on April 13. He attempted to turn at an extremely low altitude as he approached the landing area. He misjudged his landing and appeared to have made the maneuver too close to the ground.
Bungee, who had performed about 4,700 prior jumps, was videoing a tandem, and on landing, he made a straight-in approach under his Velocity 85 (loaded at around 2.0). He apparently had a steep approach angle, probably from a front-riser dive, and did not have his hands in the toggles at impact. He slammed into a taxiway, a strip of pavement similar to a runway, at a high speed and suffered severe injuries. A pair of paramedics joined a skydiving doctor in treating Bungee at the scene, who was then flown by helicopter to Halifax Medical Center in nearby Daytona Beach, where he died.

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Fatality at Carolina Sky Sports

Videographer Richard Lancaster was killed March 24 at Carolina Sky Sports in Louisburg, NC. A 4-way and the videographer exited a twin otter from 13000 feet. The videographer filmed the 4-way and everything about the skydive was normal at break-off. The pre-arranged pull altitude for the videographer was 4000 feet. Members of the 4-way observed him at 2500 feet with the main bag locked. At the scene it was observed that the main suspension lines were wrapped around the eye piece of his camera helmet. The reserve pilot chute was entangled in the main and the last stow of the reserve was out. The reserve ripcord was pulled and not found at the scene. The cutaway release was found near the hand of the deceased. The deceased had repacked the main prior to the jump and the reserve had been repacked on February 21, 2001. While he was visiting from New Hampshire, he had made 55 jumps in the last month -- most of them had been camera jumps. He was very current and during the month he jumped at Carolina Sky Sports was observed to always follow very safe skydiving practices.
Reported by Morten Berger Pedersen, Manager Carolina Sky Sports

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First Time Skysurfer Killed

A 23-year-old skydiver was killed March 3 at Skydive Phoenix in Maricopa, Arizona, USA. He was making his first Skysurfing jump using a borrowed small (2- foot long) board, which is normal for beginners. It appears he received no formal instruction on it's use, and probably did not even watch the instructional video. He had a good exit from a Pilatus Porter, and was videoed in a good standup, doing turns, going inverted, and returning to his feet. At 5000, they broke off, which was 500 feet lower than the appropriate pull altitude for a first skysurfing jump. It is unclear what happened at pull time; one theory suggests that he accidentally deployed the pilot chute between his legs. In any case, he was found near to his cutaway board and main, suggesting they were cutaway quite low, probably below 1000 feet. He impacted feet first; the reserve was found with the slider halfway down. It is unclear if he had an RSL. His main was something smaller than a Stilletto 120. Friends report this jumper was generally calm and level-headed, jumped regularly, and was a good canopy pilot.

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Fatality at Jumpin' Indiana

A 24-year old female skydiver was killed March 10 at Jumpin' Indiana in Connersville, IN. It was her 10th jump and her 4th 10-second delay during static line progression training. She was observed to go unstable on exit, then quickly regain stability. She went for her main rip cord, but seemed to not be able to find it. She continued with this course of action until impact. There was apparently no attempt at her reserve rip cord until an instant before impact. She went into a spin at perhaps 500 feet and disappeared behind the trees. She impacted belly to earth, with her left hand on the reserve handle, though it was still in the Velcro. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Her FXC (Model 12000, presumably) was on, and had been checked both on the ground and in the air. It appeared to have fired at, or just before, impact. She was jumping student gear, a PISA Nara rig with a Skymaster main and Tempo reserve. The FAA investigated. Their report states that all handles were visible, accessible, and easily extracted.

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Skydiver from the UK killed in South Africa

British skydiver Stephen Briggs, age 26, was killed at Pretoria Skydiving Club at Wonderboom Airport in South Africa on April 21. He was an experienced skydiver who took part in a 3-way, jumping his own gear. He seems to have had a malfunction of his main and cutaway but didn't pull his reserve. No further information is available.

More safety issues on pages   [1]   [2]   [3]  [4]

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