As these jumpers were climbing, the pilot told the hop-and-pops that they had to go to full altitude. So this four-way horny gorilla invited someone from the low-pass along to chase them out. There was no count for the exit so their impromptu video guy winds up late out the door. This worked out because, had he been right on top of the group, there’s a good chance he would have taken a premature opening to the face and had a VERY bad day. As it was, one jumper suffered some minor cuts, the jumper with the premie had some serious bruising to his legs, and he stated that one of his toggles ripped so he landed using rears.
Why did it happen
This one is super simple: the jumper who had the premie stated that he was jumping a borrowed 15-year-old rig that, in his words, was clearly not freefly-friendly.
How could it be prevented
Use Appropriate Gear
We cannot stress this enough: if your gear is not freefry-friendly, you shouldn’t be freeflying! We’re NOT being hyperbolic when we say that it can kill you. A neurosurgery PA we’ve discussed this with before noted that aortic dissections, traumatic brain injuries, and diffuse axonal injuries resulting in brain death are all possible when this type of incident happens. The body slows down as the canopy opens, but internal organs keep moving. Having them slam into the body at 180mph is a recipe for a bad day.
Based on the inability of the jumpers to get together once the horny gorilla broke apart, it’s very likely that they shouldn’t have been doing freefly jumps to begin with. They weren’t on level, they couldn’t get together, and at the end the camera flyer goes right over another jumper dangerously close to pull altitude. If that lower jumper pulled at that moment, it could have also easily resulted in an injury or worse.