Here's a bizarre malfunction you don't see every day -- or ever. As this AFF student initiated the pull sequence, he accidentally slid his hand down the side of his body, under the harness, and pulled the pilot chute through the harness causing a pilot chute in tow! The instructor saw it happening but wasn't able to stop the student in time. Fortunately, in a ninja-level move, the AFF-I managed to grab the bridle, pulled the pilot chute back through the harness and released it; giving the student a regular deployment which he then landed. Wow.
The submission that came with this video noted that, due to the student's body type, the instructors wanted him on a larger canopy. However, the only container they had with a canopy of the proper size "didn't fit the student as well as (they) wanted." The jumper was doing well until he decided to slide his hand under his harness. The question that comes up is: if the equipment fit properly, would his hand have slid down on the outside of the container and not caused any issues at all?
The AFF-I who sent in this video noted that instructors should "Always expect students to find new and exciting ways to try and kill themselves, or you." This was certainly an incident underscoring that truism.
Hang out at enough dropzones and sooner or later you’ll hear the phrase, "Student gear is usually one-size-fits-none." However, this incident underscores why that type of argument can result in serious consequences. Ultimately, every jumper should be using equipment that doesn’t compromise when it comes to safety but that’s even more important when it comes to students. Instructors, S&TA’s, DZM’s and DZO’s have a responsibility to make sure that new jumpers are entering the sport safely.
We really want to applaud the main-side instructor on an amazing job realizing what was happening and pulling that bridle back through the harness to get the pilot chute out. Even after watching it a few times, it doesn’t stop being impressive how quickly he reacted. Another note, however, is the fact that the reserve-side instructor had already left the student during the deployment when they are typically supposed to ride through the deployment until the student is ripped out of their hands.