Knot in a brake line – hello reserve

On a fine Arizona day following a nice skydive, Trunk from Hypoxic turned and tracked, waved off and pulled.

TrunkAfter an uneventful opening, was time to pop the toggles. Some of the excess brake line stowed on the back of his risers had moved around during or before deployment resulting in the toggle being pulled through a loop of sorts.   Reaching up to release the brakes, the excess was knotted up (shown at the end of the video).  Being an experienced skydiver that knows his canopy well, Trunk quickly decided that he would not be able to clear the tangle below his hard deck – if at all – so he went for the reserve and landed uneventfully.
The canopy was a Velocity 103 and it was a balmy, no-wind day in Eloy, AZ

Back in the days of Velcro, the excess brake line was tucked up nice and tight. But Velcro and lines tend to not get along, so by popular demand, manufacturers have moved away from the Velcro to different methods – and some don’t even bother. What works for you? Ever had this happen?

Trunk plans on revisiting his procedures for stowing the excess to minimize the odds of it happening again.

Skydiver Ben Cornick injured in Fiji

British jumper Ben Cornick was injured in a skydiving accident on island of Fiji, January 14th 2014.

This is not the first time a jumper gets hurt on a faraway island, and certainly not the first time a skydiver does not have insurance to cover medical treatments or transports. In Ben’s case, the injuries were such that the local doctors/hospitals were not equipped to operate; to be treated locally meant amputation. Transport was urgently needed, or Ben was certain to lose his leg or possibly face even more serious complications. The clock was ticking down with 24 hrs to go.

BenCornick

Ben’s friends and family rallied. Racing the clock, they put forward an incredible push and were able to raise enough funds to cover his ambulance flight to Auckland, New Zealand. Ben will undergo operation and treatment in Auckland. The flight is but the first step of many in Ben’s recovery. If you would like to donate or get updates, you can visit a Facebook group that has been set up to disseminate information. If you would like to donate using PayPal you can send donations to rickyjdavies@hotmail.co.uk. If you prefer bank transfer, inquire within the group.

We wish Ben a speedy recovery!

 

CRW Injury in Lake Wales, FL

Florida jumper Victor Bryie was injured Sunday December 8th, following a CRW jump at Skydive Lake Wales, FL.

Victor and Shaun Philips had planned a 2-way CRW jump. They are reported to have wrapped around 9,000 feet, following a hard dock. Victor attempted to cut away his main. Victor unsuccessfully tried to get clear, cut away and deploy his reserve.  Shaun reports that around 3,000 feet a line broke, allowing him to get clean air and land with a fully open parachute.  Victor remained entangled and landed hard under a partially inflated, spinning canopy.

Victor was transported to a hospital via helicopter with several broken bones and a head injury. We hope for a quick and complete recover and send Victor’s friends and family our best wishes.

Click here for a surprisingly thorough and well written news article by The Ledger.com (local publication).

Canopy Collision in Eloy, AZ

BSBDcrop copyTwo jumpers participating in the 200-way World Record attempts organized by P3 Skydiving have died following a very low canopy collision.

Witnesses put the collision altitude at around 150-200 feet, much too low to take any action.  Both impacted hard. One jumper was pronounced dead at the scene, the other one shortly after being transported to a hospital. Both were described as experienced and conservative canopy pilots. Conditions were good and record participants were reported to be following plans set up to stagger landings and spread out over assigned landing areas.  The unnerving part about this particular incident is that it was not a case of someone hot-dogging it through traffic or jockeying for spots by the beer line.  Everything was set up well, executed well, and yet we two people collided and died.

Big-ways of that degree are certainly not your every day kind of jump. There are unique challenges and dangers, both in free fall, during break off and especially under canopy. Even with Skydive Arizona offering up the whole desert as a landing area, being in traffic with 200+ other canopies in the sky is hectic.

On the same jump, another jumper was taken to a hospital following a very hard landing. That jumper is expected to recover.

Names have not been released, pending notification of family. The news have reported that the jumpers were not American.  We send our sincerest condolences to family and friends of the deceased skydivers. We hope that the rest of the big-way attempts will be safe and successful, building a beautiful tribute to the two.

News Reports: ABC15 (news cast), NY Daily News

 

BASE jumper/climber Ammon McNeely injured in Moab

Warning: Extremely Graphic

Warning: Extremely Graphic

BASE jumping and climbing legend Ammon McNeely was seriously injured after a jump in Moab, Utah. We share the video from YouTube at the bottom, but be warned that it is extremely graphic.

McNeely describes the factors leading up to the incident on his Facebook page (warning: extremely graphic photo in link). His account has gone viral beyond belief, both in skydiving/BASE communities as well as on YouTube and similar sites. He shares some back story as well, about jumping and climbing in National Parks.

A little background information for those who don’t know or are unclear of the days leading up to the Moab accident. Most of you know of my troubles with jumping in Yosemite. Back then I had three BASE rigs, two modern canopies and one old school Fox with a velcro container. My first time getting busted in Yosemite they allowed me to “buy” back my gear for 1,500, plus the 2,500 fine that went with being a “criminal”. I figured I was just unlucky and continued jumping in the park. I ended up selling one of my rigs to help pay for the fine I had acquired. The second time, yes there was a second bust, they took my gear without the option of “buying” it back, gave me a $5000 fine and sent me to prison for 38 days.

I guess you could say that I learned my “lesson” after that. I was done jumping in National Parks and continued following my climbing and jumping passions elsewhere. That just left me with a very used old school velcro rig to play with, until I could afford some more modern gear. I adapted and learned to jump this older gear with precision and confidence. But, I started to notice that one of my brake settings was getting a bit frayed and needed replaced. This is where I should have been a lot more cautious about something new, but with 1000+ jumps, felt quite confident. Just like in climbing, it’s best to experiment with singular differences rather than a handful, or even a couple of new variations. In this case, new brake lines and an exit that I had never experienced before. I should have taken them back to the bridge in Idaho or jumped an exit that I was very familiar with.

So, I was down in Moab mentoring my friend Dave who had 50+ jumps and hadn’t been off a cliff, yet. He was doing all the right steps and I took him under my wing. We did a jump in Northern Utah and went down to Moab and hucked a couple of cliffs in Mineral Bottom, which he did great. The day of the accident, after picking up my repaired gear, we ran into Andy Lewis and came up with a plan for a sunset jump.

We were with one other jumper who was new and I voted that Andy goes first, the two new guys go in the middle and I go last. They had perfect exits, great openings with no wind. I jumped, probably took a tad longer delay than I should have, being it was a new exit with new brake lines and immediately had a 180 degree opening. I struck the cliff with my left foot and continued rag dolling down the cliff where I finally came to rest on a sloping ledge. I knew I was banged up but to my utter surprise my foot was flipped on its side looking very similar to a nalgene bottle with just a sliver of skin keeping it on. 

My first thought was, I want to wiggle my toes, because this is the last time I will ever feel that sensation. Blood was squirting everywhere and I knew my only option was to somehow tourniquet it to stop the bleeding. I used my bridal (a flat piece of webbing) that attaches my pilot chute and canopy to wrap the ankle just above the open wound. I then used a stick and propelled it tighter and tighter until the spurts subsided. I yelled down that I needed a helicopter ASAP and that I lost my foot and might bleed out. 

This is when Andy, Brent and a few other Moab locals jumped into action, also, Dave who is an EMT. It took about 45 minutes before they could get to me, drilled a three bolt anchor and had fixed lines set before SAR even got there. Setting up the lines saved the rescue a couple of hours of them getting me back to the road and most likely my life. I lost nearly three pints of blood and was very close to leaving this world by the time the helicopter got me to the hospital. 

I was absolutely prepared to wake up the next morning, minus a foot. I joked about going full pirate mode with a peg leg but knew it could be a reality and was very sad about it. Somehow, they saved it. I’m not completely in the clear at this moment, due to possible infection… but, I survived. 

So, the question is; Do we stand up and take the risks and have a blast enjoying our passions in life? Or, do we hide in the shadows, being afraid of what might happen if we are so bold to follow our dreams?

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Ammon McNeely clearly possesses mental and physical toughness like few others. His vast experience certainly comes in handy and allows him to quickly assess and react to his serious injuries, and is no doubt the primary reason this incident did not turn into a fatality. Mad props for sharing the details of the incident, allowing others to learn and prepare.

We send our best wishes for a full and fast recovery.

 

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