Friday Freakout: Skydiver’s Failed Cutaway, Parachute Line Snagged On Container

Posted by Zej Moczydlowski

What happened

This jumper deployed their main, saw a malfunction they could not recover from, and cutaway. Their three-rings separated but a line got caught and the main parachute remained connected to the container. While attempting to clear the line entanglement, it appears the jumper pulled on their RSL and extracted their reserve pin; giving them a two-out. The jumper flew the reserve and, twenty seconds before safely landing their reserve, the main finally released.

Why did it happen

The initial malfunction is difficult to see but, as their canopy was deploying, a line snagged on the container. This resulted in a malfunction that had to be cutaway. Because of the snagged line, however, the canopy was unable to release. The jumper noted that, prior to this jump, their rigger had patched their container. Without more information it’s difficult to know whether that resulted in this incident. Packing errors could also have caused this issue. One possible example is that a line could have caught on the main closing loop anchor if, while rotating the bag, the line wrapped around it.

How could it be prevented

Without knowing what caused that line to snag, it’s difficult to know what could have prevented this incident. If it was because of the new patch inside the container, it maybe could have been prevented through a better examination of the work the rigger did. If it was a packing error, it maybe could have been prevented through diligence.

What we do know is that a hook knife would certainly have prevented the jumper from being forced to deal with a trailing ball of @#$% while flying their reserve. Many skydivers think hook knives are just for CRW but this video proves otherwise… plus, you never know when you might wind up on an unintentional CRW jump! 😉

Author’s Notes

  1. All else aside, props to this jumper for keeping cool and flying that reserve like a boss despite the issues caused by the trailing main.
  2. Maybe I should get a second hook knife? Because in a situation like this I’d probably have dropped my first one!