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[Updated: January 27, 2002] More safety & trainig issues on pages    
|Blue skies and safe landings!|
|A Sad Loss for British Skydivers|
46-year old british skydiver and former SAS soldier Charles Bruce died January 8, 2002 after apparently jumping without a parachute from a light aircraft flown by his girlfriend. He fell 5,000 ft into fields near the village of Fifield, Oxfordshire, UK.
Nish, as friends called him, left the SAS in the 80th and suffered from severe depressions the following years. In 1998 he wrote the book "Freefall" under the pseudonym Tom Read, a startling book both about his military service and his breakdown, told with excoriating honesty.
Read the whole story at www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4333100,00.html
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|Jumpmaster dies in Lake Wales|
Skydiver Jason Krieg, jump master at Grand Lakes Skydive near Celina Ohio lost his life in a CRW accident, December 22, 2001. Jason and Bruce Cyphers decided to do CRW on the 3rd load of the day, the winds were 12-18 on the ground, and 50-65 at 10,000 ft. Jason and Bruce exited at nearly 4 miles from the dropzone. They couldn't make it back to the dropzone and went down in the Grand Lake Saint Marys, 1.5 miles north of the dropzone. They had both gone into the lake 200 yards from shore. Two boats were at the spot within five minutes and pulled Bruce out of the water, who was wearing a wetsuit that protected him from the 42-degree water. Jason was missing from 3.00 p.m. and searches stopped at night fall saturday night. His body was found Sunday morning.
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|Fatality in Switzerland|
Swiss skydiver Ernst Grubenmann died December 16, 2001 in a skydiving accident in Tessin, Switzerland. Shortly before landing he collided with another skydiver and hit the ground hard. He died at the scene. The second skydiver was seriously injured but is expected to recover.
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|Plane Crash in New Zealand|
On November 29, 2001, five skydivers were injured when the small plane they were in crashed at Motueka, near Nelson in New Zealand.
The 29-year-old Cessna 185 Skywagon, operated by Skydiving Nelson, appeared to lose power as it was taking off and crashed deep inside a kiwifruit orchard near Motueka airfield. An investigation on the cause of the accident is under way and could take upwards of six months.
Read the whole story at http://www.stuff.co.nz/inl/index/0,1008,1024331a11,FF.html.
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|Fatality in Elsinore|
61-year old skydiver Gerald Helms died November 25, 2001 during a jump at Skydive Elsinore in California. He took no action to pull any handles. His CYPRES activated his reserve and he plummeted into the yard of a Elsinore downtown auto business about two miles away. He was pronounced dead at the scene. A physical exam Helms took three months ago revealed that he had an enlarged heart, so it is believed that a Helms suffered a heart attack.
Gerald Helms took up skydiving at 18 and became a state-licensed parachute rigger. For a short time, he had his own rigging shop in the Lake Elsinore area. Because of his expertise, he worked on the 1968 movie "Gypsy Moths," starring Burt Lancaster, Gene Hackman and Deborah Kerr. After a 30-year hiatus, Gerald Helms returned to skydiving three years ago. A sky-diving reunion with old buddies three years ago in Palm Springs reinvigorated his fervor, and Helms got right back into the sport. In 2000 he broke his left ankle twice, but that was part of the game. He wanted to make 1,000 jumps. His last jump was his 892nd.
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|Fatality at Hibaldstow Airfield, UK|
On November 18, 2001, british skydiver Stephen Priestley died in a 500-foot plunge at Hibaldstow Airfield in Lincolnshire, UK, after his canopy failed to open during a charity parachute jump. He pulled the reserve but it failed to inflate in time and Priestley fell some 500 feet and was pronounced dead at the scene.
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|Skydiver Crashed into a Roof|
A parachutist who crashed into the roof of a Roseland home Wednesday afternoon died from his injuries early Thursday morning. Craig Chesworth, 23, from England died November 7, 2001 in a skydiving accident at Skydive Sebastian in Florida, USA. He had landed feet first on the roof of Roseland home, then he crashed through the roof and hit his head before tumbling to the ground. He sustained head trauma and a broken leg and died the next morning.
Chesworth had misjudged his approach to the Skydive Sebastian landing zone. He had deployed his chute at between 1,700 and 2,300 feet. The zone is about 3/4 of a mile southwest of the crash scene. A spokeswoman for Skydive Sebastian said the jumper's parachute did not open fully until he was too low. Chesworth had made 165 previous jumps, with Wednesday's being his 33rd with Skydive Sebastian.
On Octber 6, a parachutist crashed into a residence not far away from the scene of Chesworth's accident, but was not injured.
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|French Skydiver dies in Empuriabrava|
On November 4, 2001, a Frenche skydiver died after a mid-air collision at the Parachute Center in Empuriabrava in Spain. He was in a freefly formation and wanted to record all others openings. During the last opening he was too close to the other skydiver and got hit in the head by his partners leg, and he became unconscious for the rest of his fall and he landed in a canal in the town area. The deceased didn't turn his CYPRES on because he wanted to make a low opening and wanted to avoided an accidentally Cypress activation.
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|Fatality in Melbourne, Australia|
An experienced skydiver died of injuries sustained during a hard landing near Melbourne October 21, 2001. The parachute of the 31-year-old skydiver had apparently opened normally, but then he got into difficulties just before landing. He landed at high speed and with great force, causing critical injuries.
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|Three Skydivers Die in One Week at Skydive Chicago|
On October 6, 2001, Deborah Luhmann, 27 and Steven Smith, 44, lost their lifes in an mid-air collision under fully functionall parachutes. Their parachutes became entangled about 75 to 100 feet above the ground, causing the chutes to deflate. Both jumpers landed hard on the dropzone, north of the hangar. They were were part of a 10-way team practicing for the US Nationals.
On October 14, 2001 Bruce A. Greig fell to his death after his parachute failed to open properly. The jumper was on a 6-way skydive with a break off at 4500 ft, with most participants fully deployed by 2000 ft. He then was observed in a spinning configuration until a low cutaway at 150-250 ft. The reserve was deployed, but the slider was found right at the canopy. The main was found with one brake unstowed, his may have caused or exacerbated the malfunction. Greig landed south of the hangar. He was taken to a hospital in Ottawa, where he was pronounced dead.
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|Skydiver dies in Alabama|
Reported by Chuck Blue
Jim Preston, a staff member at Skydive Opelika in Aabama, died September 30, 2001. He was doing a 4-way out of a Cessna 182. The formation didn't complete, so Jim and another DZ regular broke off their two-way around 4,000 ft. Jim had a very hard opening which apparently stunned him badly. He had a violently spinning malfunction and cutaway around 2,000 ft. Jim was using an RSL on his rig, so the reserve came off his back immediately while he was still unstable. Two wraps of the reserve suspension lines wound tightly around his neck and the last stow never made it off the freebag.
Jim weakly tried to fight it, but went straight in feet first in a field a ways off the DZ. Tim believes he was not conscious at impact. Tim spiraled down, landed next to him, and started CPR to no avail. He said the suspension lines were very tight around Jim's neck. One set of brakes was unstowed and a D-line was broken.
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|Tandem Accident in Germany|
On September 30, 2001 a tandem pair was badly injured after landing under a "downplane". Some time after the main parachute was deployed the reserve suddenly activated and both chutes went into a fest spinning downplane. The tandem master was unable to cut away and the pair landed in a water treatment plant. Both jumpers suffered spine fractures but are believed to fully recover.
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|Two skydiver die at the same DZ in unrelated accidents|
Two skydiver died September 22, 2001 in unrelated accidents at the Sydney Skydiving Centre near Picton, Australia. Veteran skydiver Brendon Cook, 34, is reported to have had some sort of malfunction on his main and an entaglement with his reserve resulting in him hitting the ground hard. He suffered severe head, chest and leg injuries and was rushed to hospital. He passed away later that evening.
Only three hours later, while police and other authorities were investigating the first accident, another young male jumper fell to his death. He didn't deploy neither his main parachute nor his reserve and died instantly on impact.
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|One Fatality and a "Close Call" in Germany|
A 35-year old German skydiver died September 16, 2001 at a dropzone in Gera, Germany. He made a jump from 4500 ft and opened his parachute shortly after exiting the plane. He then immediately cut away but didn't open his reserve and plunged to death. Investigators later stated that the jumper commited suicide.
Only one hour before the fatal jump a 43-year old jumper was in trouble after his CYPRES fired the very moment he opened his reserve. He was not able to cut away and landed with spinning parachutes in a residental area near the dropzone. He suffered a spine injury and is expected to recover fully.
More safety & training issues on pages