While working on “solo head-down,” this skydiver had a premature toggle fire in freefall that briefly wrapped around his arm. The toggle fire was sketchy enough, not to mention punching through clouds or wearing a t-shirt that could have covered his handles.
After he deployed his main, the unstowed toggle – predictably – resulted in his canopy not flying straight and in some minor line twists. He quickly reached up, unstowed the other toggle, and managed to get everything under control.
Why did it happen
We don’t know anything about the equipment that was being used here but an immediate question that comes to mind is whether this rig was freefly-friendly. Another related question is whether this was possibly an old worn-out container that was simply not up to the task of keeping everything where it’s supposed to be.
Another possible cause for this incident is improper packing technique. If the jumper didn’t take the time to make sure his risers and toggles were properly stowed, this is the type of thing that could absolutely happen.
How could it be prevented
Use the right equipment
Even an improperly packed rig shouldn’t have a toggle popping out like this, so the possibility of this being an issue with the container is up there in our minds. Jumpers need to make sure that their gear is suitable for whatever discipline they’re pursuing.
Mentors / Coaches / Instructors
This jumper claims they were working on head-down transitions but this jump looks almost like they were trying for a solo angle… while punching through clouds… with no view of the ground as a reference for the direction of jump run… while jumping with a shirt that is just begging to cover their handles. Suffice to say, there’s a lot to unpack here in addition to the toggle being loose. The fact that all of these were happening suggests to us that this individual needed to be taken aside by more experienced jumpers and shown how to safely progress in the sport.