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Vol. 8 - May 2000 - English Edition The Magazine from Skydive World


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Blue skies and safe landings !
[Updated: May 24, 2000]                           Page 1 - For more safety issues see Page 2

German SL Student Killed

On Sunday, May 21, a german SL student died in Wallerfangen-Düren, Gemany. His foot got stuck to the parachute of another student who cut away immediately and pulled his reserve. While flying away his parachute wrapped around the body of the upper jumper and parts of it got entangled with his canopy. For unknown reasons the deceased could not clear the entanglement and get a functional reserve out. He landed hard and was fataly injured. The second jumper landed without incident. Further Investigations by German authorities are on the way.

Low Turn killed Californian Skydiver

On Sunday, May 21, 33-year-old David Mesirow of Chatsworth was killed in an accident at Air Adventures West Skydiving School in Taft, California, USA. Mesirow died in the Kern Medical Center emergency room after suffering head trauma, broken limbs and major internal injuries when he struck the ground during a low-altitude maneuver. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident.

Fatality in Arizona

On Saturday, May 13, a just-off-student-status jumper got killed in Marana, Arizona. He experienced some sort of horseshoe malfunction which failed to clear. No further information are available.

BASE Jumper fatality in Italy

Andrea Quarisa from Rome, Italy was killed in a BASE accident at Arco (Italy) on May 7. He exited on his back filming two Italian base jumpers, but the altitude was misjudged. Quarisa impacted on talus as his canopy was opening. Source: The Attitude Page

Student Skydiver killed in Norway

A student skydiver (21) suffered fatal injuries in an accident at Rygge Parachute Club in Norway on Sunday, May 7. His AAD, an FXC, fired the reserve into his main canopy and both got entangled. The student impacted under two spinning canopies. He was airlifted to a hospital where he died. All norwegian student rigs equipped with an FXC AAD are grounded for further investigations.

Six skydivers died in one week

The past weeks have been very sad and tragic ones for our sport. Six skydivers died in unrelated accidents in the USA in a variety of circumstances [see reports below]. These accidents and all the others which have happened since the start of the new millennium should make each of us re-think our own personal safety awareness.
I won't write an article here about what's happening on the dropzones worldwide and "why things went so terrible wrong". There are already enough discussions going on in the wake of all these incidents at dropzones and in newsgroups. Instead, I would like to share a wonderful, comforting poem which I found on the Skydiving Newsgroup written by an unknown author, with the families and friends of our dead fellows and with all of you. Please take care of yourself and each other! Stay safe! --@nne

    Do not stand at my grave and weep
    I'm not there, I do not sleep.
    I am the essence of a clear blue sky.
    I am the yearning to climb very high.
    I am the breeze you feel as you spot.
    I am the rapture of flying your slot.
    I am the rustle of a canopy in flight.
    I am the flicker of camp fire light.
    When you pass through the door into open air,
    I know you're smiling, I am the wind in your hair.
    So do not stand at my grave and cry,
    I am not there; I did not die.
    [unknown author]

Accident Reports
An experienced skydiver from Austria was killed and another injured Monday afternoon, May 1, when the two collided in the air and landed hard near Dunn Air Park in Titusville in Florida, USA. The 44-year-old Peter Gappmair suffered numerous broken bones and other injuries when he hit the ground. He suffered cardiac arrest shortly after the accident and died at Parrish Medical Center in Titusville. The other skydiver involved, 33-year-old Wolfgang Duller, was complaining of shortness of breath and pain in his right leg. He was in stable condition Tuesday night. "They were about 1,000 feet up when they collided", a spokesman for Titusville Fire and Emergency Services said. "Gappmair landed in a field east of the air park. Basically, he hit the ground pretty hard."
The skydivers were members of the Austrian 8-Way formation team MAMAGAMA that had been in Brevard County for three days of their one-week training trip. They were preparing for a competition later this year in Austria. They practiced an eight-way formation, and on deployment two of the jumpers did not achieve adequate separation and collided under their parachutes. Titusville police gathered evidence from the accident and will turn it over to the Federal Aviation Administration.
Read the whole stories at:
A fatal incident was reported at Missouri River Valley Skydivers in Lexington, Missouri, USA, on Sunday, April 30. The skydiver encountered a main malfunction, cut away normally, and his reserve opened plenty high. He flew his reserve down in control. Upon landing he fell forward and his chest-mounted altimeter struck him in the throat and swelling cut off his air supply and he subsequently died. The victim leaves behind a wife and one child. There is no further information available at this time.
The 28-year-old Ray Klimmek, a geological engineering student from Leipzig, Germany, died Saturday afternoon, April 29, after a skydiving accident at the Marana Skydiving Center in Arizona, USA. He was performing his third jump of the day at about 1 p.m. when the accident occurred. As an eyewitness reported, there wasn't any problem with his parachute and that it looked like he just miscalculated a really low turn to avoid a tree on landing and then he hit really hard. Paramedics from the Northwest Fire District reported that Klimmek broke both his ankles, both his legs, shattered his pelvis and suffered fatal head injuries in the fall.
On Saturday, April 29, Smoke jumper David Liston, 28, died when his main and reserve parachutes failed during a training jump above Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks, Alaska, USA. Federal investigators were on the scene Monday to figure out why neither chute deployed. Liston was the 23rd of 24 smoke jumpers to jump from the plane during Saturday's exercise. In addition to problems with Liston's parachutes, the final jumper also had problems with his main parachute and had to use his reserve. It was Liston's third season with the smoke jumpers, who do a couple of practice jumps a week between May and July. Smoke jumpers are used primarily for initial fire attacks in remote areas of Alaska where access by ground is limited.
Read the whole story at:
On Friday, April 28, at approximately 5:45 p.m. an experienced skydiver died at Mile-Hi Skydiving Center at Vance Brand Airport in Colorado, USA. The 35 year-old jumper was making his fourth jump of the day. This jumper had 85 logged skydives and was making a three-way jump. At 4000 feet the jumpers tracked away and a fellow jumper deployed at 3000'. The deceased was last seen in freefall and did not or was unable to deploy his main parachute. The jumper was seen throwing his cutaway handle at a relatively high altitude. The jumper did not activate his reserve parachute (the reserve handle was in place) and was flat and stable until impact. A rigger was on the scene and the deceased's parachute equipment appeared to be operational. Further information will not be available until the FAA and coroner investigates. This jumper was not wearing an automatic activation device.
Spc. Michael R. Phalen, 21, of Zanesville died Wednesday afternoon, April 26, at Ford Bragg, NC, USA, after jumping from a 34-foot tower during paratrooper training. Phalen was training for jumps out of a high-performance aircraft. Soldiers using the tower wear harnesses that are hooked to a cable which lowers them to the ground. It was unclear if the cable or the harness broke, or if the fall was caused by something else. A team from the U.S. Army Safety Center at Fort Rucker, AL traveled to Fort Bragg to investigate.

News Bytes

Revision B of Sunpath Bulletin
Please check the Sun Path website at for Revision B to the original service bulletin dealing with the closing loop retainer tab. Revision A was rescinded April 19, 2000.
The service bulletin is MANDATORY for Javelin's manufactured prior to September 1993, and RECOMMENDED for Javelin's manufactured September 1993 up to and including March 2000.
We are distributing the service bulletin to the agencies listed below. Please help us with the distribution, by printing up the bulletin and taking it to your local drop zone. If you have any questions, please address your e-mails to
Thank you, Doris Pfister - Marketing - Sun Path Products, Inc.

For more safety issues see Page 2

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