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Vol. 10 - July 2000 - English Edition The Magazine from Skydive World


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[Updated: July 25, 2000]             Page 1 - For more safety issues see Page 2 and Page 3

Fatality At The Ranch

Blue Sky Ranch Press Release
July 10, 2000 - Gardiner, NY
Yesterday, July 9th, 2000, an experienced skydiver died in Gardiner, NY after exiting a Twin Otter jump aircraft from 13,500 feet. Ed Rehberger, 33 year old experienced male jumper with over 300 logged skydives was pronounced dead at the scene by local emergency response personnel. An autopsy has determined the cause of death as a heart attack during freefall. His cypress automatic activation device fired at the correct altittude and Ed landed under his reserve into a small pond east of the drop zone. Officials state that he died prior to landing and did not drown.
Guy Wright, manager Ranch Parachute Club []

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19 Dead In Russian Helicopter Crash

LEVASHOVO, Russia - On Friday, July 21, just four minutes after takeoff, a Russian Mi-8 military aircraft crashed in flames in northern Russia. The aircraft contained 16 parachutists and 3 crewmen, according to the Russian Air Force. All 19 on board the aircraft were killed.
The helicopter was on a training flight in the region of Levashovo, just north of St. Petersburg and was carrying the 16 parachutists and three crewmen for a routine accuracy/refresher jump from 1,200 m (3,500 feet).
According to an eyewitness, there was a loud bang or pop, then the aircraft spun around its vertical axis in the air before falling from a height of approximately 70 meters (230 feet) to the tarmac. Because of full gas tanks, the plane burst into flames upon impact. Although firefighters did manage to make it to the scene, the fire was so intense that no survivors could be pulled out of the wreckage.
An Air Force commission is investigating the crash. Speculation has been made that the aircraft was overloaded. However, a spokesman for the Air Force training corps in St. Petersburg said that it could not have been overloaded because the Mi-8 aircraft usually carries three times the number of people at high altitudes than the fatal flight carried on July 21st. He went on to say that of course they would know more when they retrieve the black box.
The Mi-8 aircraft is routinely used by Russia's forces in separatist Chechnya. Notorious for flying with packed passengers, there have been at least five crashes of the Mi-8 in the past two years.

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Navy SEAL Killed In Skydiving Practice

Excerpts from the fatality report.
Harness Container was a Telesis 2, Main was a Navigator 280, Reserve a PD253R
Training background:
Deceased was trained by a highly experienced USPA AFF and military instructor. The training was a military exercise done strictly in accordance with USPA guidelines. Deceased had made 5 prior jumps, with good to excellent performance on all jumps, with the exception of a tendency to dip right side low on deployment. This was his second jump of the day. His training records reflected corrective training on body position at pull time.
Description of incident:
The AFF Level 6 jump went as planned, with excellent performance by the deceased. He waved and pulled at 4500' as planned. His body position at pull time was right side low due to knee dropped. Deployment appeared to progress normally to the jumpmaster. The jumpmaster did not see full canopy deployment. Deceased was next seen at approximately 2500' with a main/reserve entanglement. He was seen trying to clear the entanglement until impact.
Post jump inspection found that the cutaway handle and reserve ripcords had been pulled. The kink in the reserve ripcord cable caused by RSL activation eliminated the possibility that the deceased had pulled the handles in the wrong order. The reserve bridle was found entangled with the right main line group. The main canopy was twisted in such a way that it appeared to have hung up on the left (RSL) side.
Final inspection of the equipment revealed that the slider bumper on the right rear riser may have snagged the reserve static line, causing the dual deployment. Pulling the cutaway handle may have taken away this jumper's only chance of survival.
To put the jump in the most likely order of events:
Deceased deployed right side low.
Right rear riser slider bumper snagged RSL during deployment.
Main deployed normally.
Reserve partially deployed.
Deceased saw main and reserve out, with malfunctioning reserve.
Deceased pulled cutaway handle and reserve ripcord.
The resulting entanglement was not surviveable.
This sequence of events is considered the most likely scenario based on the available information. It should be noted that in this, as is the case of all fatality reports, the person with the most information is unfortunately, unable to provide his or her input.

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Heart Attack During Freefall

On the 3rd of July, a 54 year old man performing his 3rd Static Line Jump, suffered a heart attack as he left the aircraft. The jumpmaster noticed that the student hadn't arched so he jump out after the student. The students canopy opened perfectly but the jumpmaster confirmed that he was already dead in the sky.
A doctor on the DZ confirmed that the man suffered a heart attack. This has only been the 3rd Skydiving related death at this DZ in 30 years. The 2 previous skydivers having both been highly experienced jumpers.

Skydiver Got Hit By A Bird

While looking at this picture, one might think that the skydiver who got hit by this Titmouse pulled way too low but he did not! Statistically it's almost impossible, but during a formation jump, a member of the "Fila-Team" from Austria had this dangerous encounter at 5,900 feet. Fortunately, the bird got stuck in the visor of his helmet and only left him with a cut and a black-and-blue eye. As far as we know, such an incident in our sport never was reported before. These birds normally never fly at such a height, and the jumpers assume that the extreme heat of that day caused the bird to get lost on its hunt for insects. So watch'll never know!

Bird in Visor    Bird in Visor
Photos by
Next Generation © 2000

British Stuntman Killed In BASE Jump

Terry Forrestal, 53, a former member of England's Special Air Service and a stuntman who staged and performed action sequences for such Hollywood blockbusters as Robin Hood, Braveheart, Titanic, and several James Bond movies, died June 10 in Norway.
Forrestal died during an unusual accident at the popular Helicopter BASE Boogie at the Lysefjord, Norway. A videotape of the jump showed that Forrestal had launched with a slight turn and did not track far enough away from the cliff before deploying his main canopy. The canopy opened with a 180-degree turn and threw him into the wall. He tried unsuccessfully to kick himself back out and away from the wall and landed on a narrow ledge about 600 meters above the landing area, possibly injuring or even breaking his legs.
A helicopter rescue was unable to pluck the jumper off the ledge due to fog moving in. Further attempts to rescue him by helicopter had to be called off. A rescue team then hiked by foot to reach the launch point. As they prepared for the descent, they soon discovered that Forrestal was no longer on the ledge. Shortly after, he was found dead further down the mountainside. The discovery of his reserve freebag some 30 meters below the ledge has led to the assumption that he did try to save himself by making a second launch with his reserve canopy. This had been successfully done at least once several years ago on Norway's Troll Wall. Or Forrestal may have fallen off and then attempted the only possible option left to him: pull his reserve. Before his fatal jump/fall, Terry had waited 10 hours for the rescue team which had been hindered due to the weather.

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British Student Dies In The USA

A British tourist plunged to his death after his parachute failed during a skydiving jump in the United States. Barry Maguire, 22, of Liverpool, Merseyside, UK, died after jumping from an airplane at 13,000 feet near the Lake Wales airport in Florida on Tuesday, July 4.
Police say Mr. Maguire, who had recently completed his skydiving training, may have cut his main parachute and fallen to his death when his reserve parachute failed. Other skydivers who were making the jump with him spotted he was in trouble and alerted police.

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Two Hook Turn Fatalities

A Great Falls skydiver died of multiple injuries after hitting the ground at Chico Hot Springs, Montana, on Saturday, June 24. Philip Moore, 39, who was an experienced jumper, suffered multiple traumatic injuries when he landed hard in a field.
Moore was coming down under a full canopy, and as he made his final approach, he did a hook turn but didn't recover from the turn fast enough, as another skydiver observed. The observer speculated that there may have been turbulence in the air and that circular winds may have complicated Moore's landing.
After the incident, two doctors, who happened to be driving by the resort, gave Moore CPR and attempted to stabilize him until emergency medical technicians arrived, but he died aboard a life-flight helicopter.
Benjamin A. Freeman, 31, an experienced skydiver from Oklahoma, was killed on June 20 after jumping from an airplane near Eagle Air Sports in Florida. As eyewitnesses reported, he went out at 3000 feet and his parachute opened properly. Freeman then rode his canopy back over the airport where he did two sharp turns around, which left him low. He then did a hard right turn at about 60 feet to try to get into the wind, when his canopy took a nosedive, and he impacted the ground face down. He was declared dead at the scene.

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Broken Reserve Lines Kill Speed Skydiver

A skydiver died June 3 at Lake Tahoe, California, under a damaged fast-spinning reserve after doing speed dives all day. The Pro-Track indicated that on his final jump, he did two attempts for speed, reaching about 300 mph, and then went for a third on the same dive. During this attempt it appears that he lost altitude awareness. He flattened and pulled his main which appeared to have a pilot chute in tow malfunction. He was using a bungee-style pilot chute. Almost immediately, probably recognizing his low altitude, he fired his reserve.
Still traveling faster than normal freefall, his reserve slammed open at 1000', breaking four lines. A broken C-line entangled with the right control line producing the fatal spin. He then tried to fly the canopy all the way until impact. He was medically evacuated from the scene. During surgery on his ruptured spleen, he died of internal bleeding. He had other injuries as well, including a collapsed lung and a torn aorta. He weighed 225 without gear and was jumping a 181 reserve. The ProTrack indicated his airspeed at 145 mph at pull time. His reserve was rated to 172 mph and 202 lbs; he was, therefore, significantly overloading the reserve by perhaps 25 percent of the rated loading. Witnesses reported the reserve, when it opened, sounded like a cannon going off. His CYPRES was on and did not fire.

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Fatality in Israel

A 21 year-old skydiving student died Friday evening, June 30, on impact at Skydive Eilat in Israel. The probable cause was double malfunction. It was his second jump in the course. He was the first to exit a C-206 from 3,500 feet using IAD. The police and authorities are still investigating the case.

For more safety issues see Page 2 and Page 3


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