A 50-jump wonder who spent too much time watching YouTube (his words, not ours!) decided to try and huck a Mr. Bill out of a King Air. The bridle went around a neck and an arm, a chest strap caught a chin resulting in a deep cut, shoes were lost on a terminal opening, and – because they were jumping in cold weather – the jumper who opened high landed five miles off with frozen hands.
Why did it happen
As this jumper himself pointed out,
“I was very naïve (and)… watched too much YouTube of Mr. Bills.”
Unfortunately, many newer jumpers look back at the videos they watched before they started jumping and want to try all that really cool stuff.
When jumpers are starting out, many simply don’t know that they really don’t know anything! To many, that brand-new A or B license gives them a sensation like they’ve conquered the world. Some think of it as a ticket to trying all sorts of awesome jumps that they don’t realize they’re not ready for.
Lack of proper equipment
This point is mainly about the fact that this person wasn’t wearing gloves during a cold weather jump. This individual noted that “It was Halloween in Canada (so cold as Hell)” but – for some unknown reason – they didn’t think to protect their hands.
How could it be prevented
These guys should probably have not been allowed to attempt this jump. More experienced hands, whether they were fellow jumpers or staff members at the DZ, should have stopped it from being attempted. That being said, it’s possible these jumpers didn’t tell anyone their plan.
YouTube is not a coach. If you want to try something you saw online, find someone with a ton of experience and ask how to do it safely. If they don’t know, hopefully they can point you in the direction of someone who can help you out. Also, this gives folks a chance to provide the aforementioned oversight and tell you if a jump is unsafe at your experience level.
Gloves significantly reduce tactile sensation and dexterity but cold air can do the same and a lot worse. On a cold enough jump, it’s possible to catch pretty serious frost bite and completely lose the use of your extremities. Before jumping in frigid temperatures, jumpers should find a set of gloves that will protect them from the elements but still provide the ability to deploy their main, follow emergency procedures, and fly/flare their canopy safely. The same thing goes for socks and shoes which will keep your feet warm enough so that you can safely run out a landing.