Friday Freakout: Skydiver Slams Into Ground, Breaks Leg From Failed Swoop

Posted by Zej Moczydlowski

What happened

After borrowing someone else’s container/harness and also forgetting his glasses before boarding the plane, this skydiver proceeded to do a 90-degree turn straight into the ground. He bounced pretty hard and broke his leg on impact — he also lost both shoes for those of you wondering 😉.

Why did it happen

Low Turn

This jumper decided to do a pretty dynamic, front-riser assisted, 90-degree turn out of a sort-of stall surge at a low altitude. It looks like he didn’t have enough altitude and didn’t try to stab out of it.

Unfamiliar Gear / Lack of Proper Gear

He noted that he was borrowing someone else’s harness and forgot to bring his glasses on the jump. Both factors likely played a role in this incident.

How could it be prevented

Gear checks and flying the plane down

This jumper said that HE JUMPED WITHOUT HIS GLASSES. If you need corrective lenses, they should be part of your gear check on the ground. If you get on the plane without them and realize it halfway to altitude, you should fly the plane down. Not being able to see your altimeter, other canopies in the air, or (evidently!) how fast the ground is rushing up at you, puts both you and other jumpers at risk.

Get familiar with new equipment

If you’re using someone else’s gear, you shouldn’t go straight back into swooping. Take a few jumps to get comfortable with how it flies before returning to your normal routine.

Give up the swoop

One of the most important things that a lot of canopy coaches do in their courses is getting students familiar with stabbing out to abort a run. It’s a very important skill because a lot of people don’t realize how much harder it is to stab out of a dive when you’ve got some speed built up in a turn. Jumpers need to be ready to give up a run to prevent themselves from slamming into the ground like this guy did.

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