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Vol. 15 - December 2000 / January 2001 - English Edition The Magazine from Skydive World


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[Updated: January 9, 2001]                            More safety issues on pages   [1]  [2]   [3]

Year 2000 Ended With Fatalities  NEW!

During the last days of the year 2000, six skydivers were killed worldwide.
German skydiver and BASE jumper Michael "Schlefy" Schäfer died in a fatal BASE incident on Friday, December 29, 2000, due to an off-heading opening during his jump from a cliff in Arizona, USA. He sustained fatal injuries attempting to avoid a wall. Due to the desolate area, it took some time for medical assistance to arrive. Schlefy was a staff member of Chicagoland Skydiving in Hinckley, IL.
New Jersey skydiver Mitch Littlefield died at the end of the year 2000 at Skydive City in Zephyrhills, Florida. Mitch succumbed to injuries sustained from a low turn while landing from a fun jump. Although medical professionals began tending to Mitch immediately, he died later in a hospital.
A 42-year-old skydiver Manfred Klaiber of Munich, Germany, died in a skydiving accident Wednesday, December 27, 2000, at Skydive Lake Wales in Florida, USA. Witnesses reported the jumper was an estimated 100 feet off the ground when he made a sharp right turn, then went straight down. It was Klaiber's 100th jump, he was using a new chute, and it was his first time jumping with it. A certified packer told police she couldn't find anything wrong with the chute. The Federal Aviation Administration has been notified of the incident and the case is still under investigation.
31-year-old Chantal Bonito of New York City was killed Wednesday, December 27, 2000, when her parachute failed and she landed in a dark woods near Skydive DeLand, Florida. Witnesses reported that Bonito’s main parachute did not function, and she performed a cutaway. She then tried to use her reserve, which apparently also failed. Investigators are working to determine the exact cause of the accident.
Two jumpers collided under canopy 30 meters above the ground on December 16, 2000, at the Ramblers Parachute Center in Toogoolawah, Australia. The dropzone operater reported that it looked as if neither saw the other coming. Their parachutes became entangled and both hit the ground hard. Paul L. Adams died of multiple injuries, and Kenneth Reed suffered spinal and internal injuries and is in a stable condition in hospital. The deceased had successfully completed 138 jumps, while the other jumper had 60 jumps to his credit.
30-year-old Carl Henly from Cardiff, UK, died December 30, 2000, in Empuriabrava, Spain. He was seen flying over the town, and when he turned to fly back to the landing area, head winds were too strong and he didn't make it. As witnesses reported, he then turned downwind to land in the town and lost control over his canopy. He struck the ground at fast speed beside a supermarket. An investigation into the cause of the accident has been launched by the Spanish authorities.

   * * *
John Matthews Hurt In A Landing Accident
Submitted by the Para-Performance Games Staff

The Para-Performance Staff just got the sad news that John Matthews was recently in a very bad landing accident.
For those of you who don't know John, he worked as a instructor for the Total Body Pilot school and the Sunshine Factory located in Z-Hills for several years. John was also part of the Z-Tribe freefly team located there. More recently, John left Z-Hills to join forces with Olav Zipser and the freefly Circus at Skydive America. John recently won gold at Nationals with the Freefly Circus.
This past weekend at Skydive America, John's canopy collapsed after getting turbulence on final. He is currently in a coma. He has small fractures at the base of his scull, a broken nose, badly broken ankle, broken foot, broken pelvis and fractured vertebrae in his lower back. All this is compounded by a very serious head injury. He has swelling in his head that is being drained by a tube to relieve the pressure. He will need surgery on his pelvis and back to remove bone fragments that are sitting very dangerously close to his spinal column. In only goes to show us that even when we do everything right, things go wrong.... "Fate has terrible power". Our prayers are with you John...speedy recovery. We will post any additional news as we receive it.

   * * *
Latest News On John Matthews
by Kathleen on the rec.skydiving newsgroup

I am so happy to tell you that John has awakened from the coma. He isn't able to talk yet as he still has tubes in his mouth and throat, but he is very responsive to instructions and stimulation now. His eyes follow you around the room now. He's trying to communicate. He's smiling. He's progressing well. They're hoping to take him off traction and take his casts off next week so that he'll be able to sit up and move around a little more. The road to his recovery will still be very long and hard but he is steadfastly heading in the right direction.
If anyone wants to know what they can do to help, go to Although John has excellent health insurance, the costs to his family will be great. This Christmas, let's show his family that it's not just blood that ties a family together. If all you can send is $1, you've helped. If all you can send is good energy, you've helped. No gift is too small. The Slammer is sending free T-shirts to the first 100 people that make $25 contributions to John's recovery fund. Please check their website for more details and where to send your contributions. At the bottom of their page are some more updates on his condition as well.
If you will be in or near Z-hills New Year's weekend, you should make sure you don't miss the Saturday night auction at The Sunshine Factory to benefit John's recovery. ALL proceeds will go to John's family to help cover his medical costs. They will have all kinds of gear and accessories at some of the lowest prices anywhere. Hope to see you there! Also! Your prayers are obviously working so please keep them coming as well.
Blue Skies to all and Merry Christmas,

   * * *
An Uncommon Reserve Safe

British skydiver Dave Clements survived a 2,000 foot jump when he got his parachute to open just two seconds before impact. Clements broke his arm on the tail fin as he leapt out of a Dakota DC3. Then he spun head-first out of control at 160 mph before managing to pull his ripcord 250 feet above the ground. He crashed on to a corrugated iron roof and was saved by his reserve chute, which had refused to open and cushioned his back. Miraculously, his only other injuries were three broken ribs. Now Clements faces an investigation into the jump by the British Parachute Association and the Civil Aviation Authority.
Read the whole story at

   * * *
Pilot Survives Jump Plane Crash

On December 3, 2000, at Paradise Skypark near Chico, California, Jim Abrahams, 44 and a Paradise pilot, nosed over during landing. Abrahams reportedly was in fair condition after crashing his single-engine plane into a muddy slope just short of the runway. The pilot had just taken skydivers up in a Cessna 152 and was on final approach to land back at the airport around 3:20 p.m.
As reported by witnesses, the plane's engine was making strange noises when suddenly it nose-dived into the slope and flipped on its back where it came to rest about 30 feet from the start of the runway. When emergency crews arrived, Abrahams was hanging upside down in the cockpit still secured by a safety belt. A few moments later, Abrahams was pulled from the plane and helicoptered to Enloe Medical Center in Chico.
From the moment of the crash, the airport was closed because the plane was in the flight path for landing aircraft. Officials did not speculate on the cause of the crash except to say pilot error and lack of fuel are among two possibilities.

   * * *
Fatality in Great Britain

On Saturday, 25. November, 23-years old Colin Graham fell to his death at Brunton Airfield in Northumbria in Great Britain. Graham was a skydiving student and was undergoing training at the Border Parachute Centre when his parachute failed to open. He died on impact. Now further details are available. Authorities are investigating the accident.

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

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