Friday Freakout: Skydiver Accidentally Deploys Reserve Parachute Before Cutting Away

Posted by Zej Moczydlowski

What happened

This skydiver deployed their main and opened into line twists, but couldn’t spin out of the line twists and decided to cutaway — but as they were chopping, the reserve also began to deploy! This jumper had 135 jumps at the time and it appears this might have been due to out-of-sequence emergency procedures. Fortunately, the reserve didn’t entangle with the main and they landed safely on reserve.

Why did it happen

Inexperience

Several individuals who viewed this video, before knowing the exact jump numbers (135 jumps), noted that this jumper was likely on too aggressive a canopy for their skill level and probably shouldn’t have been on what appears to have been a five-way freefly jump.

Improper Emergency Procedures

It’s difficult to see what this jumper’s hands were doing once he decided to cutaway, but based on the fact that we see their reserve fire before they’ve cutaway, it’s possible that they performed their emergency procedures (EPs) out-of-sequence.

How could it be prevented

Progress safely

Several instructors who viewed this video had the same reaction: This jumper shouldn’t have been on this jump or that canopy. They were unable to join their group, never checked their altimeter, the line twists were controllable at first but they let them get worse, and they did not seem to know how to undo the twists once they happened.

Practice your Emergency Procedures

It seems likely that, in a rush to perform their EP’s, this jumper may have deployed their reserve a moment before they cutaway. As one master rigger noted, a jumper only needs to “dislodge the reserve handle 1.75 inches to pull the pin,” so it’s very easy for a jumper who attempts to pull both at the same time to inadvertently fire off their reserve before they’ve finished chopping.

Seek out mentorship

In this video, we noticed another jumper was also unable to get to the group and that the group punched through blatantly obvious clouds. Both facts suggest that the jumpers involved may have not had the experience to be flying together. Unfortunately, it is common for newer jumpers to get together and not realize that what they’re doing is too advanced for them. A good practice is to seek out a more experienced jumper to review your dive plan and make sure you’re staying safe.

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