Friday Freakout: Skydiver Slammed By Hard Opening, Broken Parachute Lines

Posted by Zej Moczydlowski

What happened

This skydiver got slammed by a hard opening, which resulted in some broken lines on the main canopy followed by a cutaway. Initially, they thought it may have been a toggle fire and tried to control the canopy with rear risers before trying to unstow the brakes. When they took a moment to do a canopy check they realized they had multiple broken lines and what they thought was a possible line-over. Chop chop.

Why did it happen

Hard Opening

As is clearly visible in this video, the opening shock on this deployment was strong and could have exacerbated other issues like the ones noted below.

Old lines?

This jumper noted that four lines were snapped at the attachment points in addition to the left side control line. They believe they could have been worn out.

Line-over?

This jumper also noted that a few burns were found on the lines and that a line-over could have been responsible.

How could it be prevented

Gear Maintenance

Jumpers need to keep track of how many jumps they have on their lines and should replace them in accordance with manufacturer guidelines or if they begin showing excessive wear.

This is also why it’s incredibly important to be honest regarding how many jumps are on a canopy when it’s being sold; lying about wear and tear to get a few extra dollars can put someone in a dangerous situation.

Diligent Packing

This issue arises with a lot of malfunctions and it needs to be reiterated regularly: jumpers need to take their time packing and make sure they’re doing it right. They should avoid distractions and not rush their pack jobs in order to get on a load. It’s very easy to get complacent while packing but it’s a critical step in avoiding issues like line overs and hard openings.

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