This was an AFF-IE (AFF Instructor Examiner) jump where, from what we can tell, the simulated AFF student was making the student instructor work pretty darn hard! We’re not getting into that aspect of the jump – or about the untied shoelace – but the scary aspect of this jump was when the “student” deployed his main and his helmet/camera got stuck on the RDS slider. Fortunately he had a proper cutaway system on the helmet, so he cutaway the helmet before chopping the main canopy and landed safely. The helmet and canopy separated from the jumper, which provided a very interested POV as the camera helmet made its way down to the ground.
It's quite rare for a cut away helmet and camera to remain so stable – and pointed directly down at the ground– for the entire freefall to the ground. This is NOT a video of a jumper slamming into the ground without a parachute! The last moments of the video are from the view of a camera which was mounted to a helmet that the jumper cutaway from his body. The jumper landed safely and no one was hurt on this jump.
This jumper looked stable when he deployed the main canopy, even though he had been simulating a hot mess of an AFF student throughout most of the jump. The fact that the RDS got caught on the camera mount was arguably just bad luck.
The most obvious way to prevent a snag like this is to minimize the stuff on top of your helmet or by making sure it’s optimized for avoiding snags. Many jumpers don’t realize how easily a standard GoPro mount can catch a few lines and how huge a difference a roller mount or a low-profile mount can make. The less gear you have on your head, the better. And if you’re going to have gear on your head, make sure it’s set up to avoid snags.
Jumpers need to realize that ANYTHING they mount on their helmet can pose a hazard and that they need to be ready and willing to lose their helmets in order to save their own lives. More importantly, they need to be ready and willing to make that decision quickly. Many jumpers think about the fact that their helmet holds upwards of a thousand dollars of equipment, and they may not want to cut it away as a result. At the end of the day, losing a helmet full of gear is totally worth it if that’s the cost to walk away from an otherwise potentially fatal malfunction.