A fatality occurred in south Georgia this past weekend. Jumper Greg Siebe hit the ground hard after a low turn and passed away due to injuries sustained. PD Factory Team member Ian Drennan relayed information from one of the first responders in a thread on the Incidents forum on Dropzone.com and was kind enough to allow us to share the information here.
The incident did NOT occur at a drop zone, but rather at a ‘jump in’ location. The jumper in question had anywhere from 600-800 jumps, a significant amount of those in the last few years. The jumper was NOT current at the time of the incident though, and this was his first jump at this location – reports of his last dz jump appear to be in the January timeframe but I have been unable to confirm this at this time. The jumper had done basic canopy education in the past, approximately 2 years ago. No formal education since then. The primary discipline was RW with an ‘interest’ in swooping.
The jumper initiated a low turn (270) impacting in an aggressive dive with no toggle input prior to impact. The only signs of recognition of the low turn were a feet, knees, plf position just prior to impact. Again, no toggle input was observed. The jumper struck the ground feet, knees, torso, and then face. Minor breaks were reported (arm, etc) but no femur/pelvis breaks were apparent, or reported. The jumper sustained substantial head trauma, however, currently believed to be the cause of death.
The canopy was a Katana model, size either a 120 or 135.
Speculation is the jumper was fixated,likely on the landing area, causing him to lose awareness of his altitude – likely enhanced by lack of currency.
Ian finishes his report up with a couple of recommendations for jumpers of all ages and skill levels:
My observations as a canopy pilot:
- *HP landings when uncurrent increase risk substantially. Regardless of prior skill it is recommended that pilots ‘ease’ their way back into HP landings after taking any time off.
- HP landings into unfamiliar areas increase risk substantially. Obstacles, unfamiliar visuals, etc all factor in to a pilot’s ability to absorb, and process information. Tread carefully on new ground.
We send our sympathies to Greg’s family and friends.
Stay safe everyone.