Forums: Skydiving: Incidents:
Fatality - Edmonton - Canada - 4 May 2013

 

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mstlaurent  (C 3321)

May 5, 2013, 4:28 PM
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Fatality - Edmonton - Canada - 4 May 2013 Can't Post

http://www.edmontonjournal.com/...n/8340241/story.html

Quote:
John Scott, 49, died yesterday at Eden North Parachuting school near Stony Plain. He was an instructor and former army major with the Canadian Army SkyHawks Demonstration Parachute Team. His chute opened properly, but he landed hard and died of his injuries.

Quote:
On Saturday, the opening day of the 2013 season for Skydive Eden North, Scott completed three tandem jumps. He went up for a solo jump about 7 p.m.

Quote:
“Everything was standard. He has a very fast parachute, a very high-performance parachute, and everything was good right until the very end,” Waddell said.

Scott missed on his landing and hit “very hard. He just missed his flare. There’s a certain way to slow down a high-speed parachute, and he missed it,” Waddell said.


(This post was edited by PhreeZone on May 5, 2013, 6:41 PM)


Andy9o8  (D License)

May 5, 2013, 9:08 PM
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Re: [mstlaurent] Fatality - Edmonton - Canada - 4 May 2013 [In reply to] Can't Post

I pine for the days when getting a good canopy over your head basically ensured that your life was saved.

My despair at reading this type of incident report over and over again for the past 15 years is beyond description.


JohnMitchell  (D 6462)

May 5, 2013, 10:22 PM
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Re: [Andy9o8] Fatality - Edmonton - Canada - 4 May 2013 [In reply to] Can't Post

I bet he was a super good guy. Most of the people in this sport are. I've seen so many people busted up by these kind of accidents. Unsure


mistercwood  (Student)

May 5, 2013, 10:41 PM
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Re: [Andy9o8] Fatality - Edmonton - Canada - 4 May 2013 [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I pine for the days when getting a good canopy over your head basically ensured that your life was saved.

My despair at reading this type of incident report over and over again for the past 15 years is beyond description.

I'm taking the silver lining approach. As a baby in the sport, I literally don't know what I don't know. Any outsider would assume that the only risky part is the bit between exiting and opening - after that you're golden. As terrible as it is to see these reports, I see the overwhelming majority of them involved poor decision making at landing time. This has already drilled into me that I damn well better devote every part of my focus to the entire dive, all the way to the packing mat. Then I can stop thinking, but not a minute sooner.


nigel99  (D 1)

May 5, 2013, 11:17 PM
Post #5 of 28 (4767 views)
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Re: [mistercwood] Fatality - Edmonton - Canada - 4 May 2013 [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
I pine for the days when getting a good canopy over your head basically ensured that your life was saved.

My despair at reading this type of incident report over and over again for the past 15 years is beyond description.

I'm taking the silver lining approach. As a baby in the sport, I literally don't know what I don't know. Any outsider would assume that the only risky part is the bit between exiting and opening - after that you're golden. As terrible as it is to see these reports, I see the overwhelming majority of them involved poor decision making at landing time. This has already drilled into me that I damn well better devote every part of my focus to the entire dive, all the way to the packing mat. Then I can stop thinking, but not a minute sooner.

No that isn't correct. As a general rule and no reflection on this incident, the poor decision started long before landing but rather at the point of purchase, possibly even before then.

Its a systemic underestimation of the skills required. I used to kid myself that I jumped a 'safe' 150 or 170 canopy. The past 3 months have had 2 fatalities in that size range, albeit at higher wingloadings.


mistercwood  (Student)

May 5, 2013, 11:27 PM
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Re: [nigel99] Fatality - Edmonton - Canada - 4 May 2013 [In reply to] Can't Post

Sorry, I could have written that better - I meant it's the landing itself that is the issue, not a mal or a no-pull. As you correctly point out, it's the chain of events that lead to that landing being fatal.


Premier Remster  (C License)

May 6, 2013, 2:35 AM
Post #7 of 28 (4661 views)
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Re: [nigel99] Fatality - Edmonton - Canada - 4 May 2013 [In reply to] Can't Post

Nigel: I realize you talked about generalities, but John wasn't a young shot who overestimated his skills. H was a very experienced jumper who just messed up his landing and paid the price. I wasn't there so I won't make comments that are not 1st hand info, but it can happen to anyone who pushes limits.

BSBD


drjump  (D 2785)

May 6, 2013, 5:17 AM
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Re: [Remster] Fatality - Edmonton - Canada - 4 May 2013 [In reply to] Can't Post

Low pull contests used to kill skydivers! As we aged in this sport those killing contests slowly went away.


MajorDad  (D 579)

May 6, 2013, 7:05 AM
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Re: [Remster] Fatality - Edmonton - Canada - 4 May 2013 [In reply to] Can't Post

Remi is correct in that John Scott was an experienced, capable skydiver with over 9000 skydives and pretty well every instructor rating available. He led the Canadian Army Skyhawks for 5 years back in the day and since taking his retirement from the military had become a professional skydiver living the dream and training others to do what he loved to do.

He was current and had been jumping throughout the winter (some 1000 jumps over the last year) and he loved his pocket rockets and flew them well.

Weather conditions were not a factor. It was the best weather day and was a perfect day to open the dropzone for the season.

For those who need to dissect things to the nth degree to get the Lessons Learned:

1. To those who think it can never happen to them, they are wrong. John was competent and capable and current. He committed himself to perfection and his landing was like so many he had done before. He wasn’t perfect when it came to planing out his canopy and he hit hard. He was very fit and very tough and I honestly thought that if anyone could survive that impact, it would have been him.

2. Have an Emergency Action Plan and know it. Within seconds of the impact, competent first aid was being administered. Within a minute, 911 was called, the first aid kit was at the scene and an EMT who jumps was attending. Within two minutes, a Doctor who skydives and a Nurse who manifests were attending. Rich Grimm (who put together a great video a few years ago on Emergency Response at the DZ and is a good friend of so many at Eden North) would have been proud. Doctor Doug, Jamie and Margaret kept John alive and gave him every opportunity to stay alive. Full points to them and everyone who helped manage the accident scene.

3. Have a Media Response Plan. Lyal has been running Dropzones for decades and lives and breathes skydiving. Despite having to deal with the loss of a good friend of 20 years who was also one of his senior instructors, Lyal took the calls from the media and lined them up all day Sunday so they would all have first hand information from a knowledgeable source and sufficient time to file their story. He turned his baby over to the staff to run the operations all day while he took care of the media. The end result was the stories that made the TV, Radio, and Print Media were, for the most part, very accurate and very respectful. The Edmonton Journal Article http://(http://www.edmontonjournal.com/life/Skydiving+instructor+dies+jump+near+Stony+Plain/8340241/story.html) was the best of the bunch. It will run its normal news cycle today and fade away….

4. Train your staff and trust your staff. The staff knew what to do when stuff happened and things were taken care of the Sunday when the DZO had to take care of the Media. We were hurting and had had heavy hearts, but we had to take care of the innocents….

5. Take care of your family. Skydivers are one big dysfunctional family with incest. Many of the Eden North family have never seen a fatality before and this one happened right in front of everyone. Saturday night people took care of people. Those who have dealt with this before helped those who haven’t. Sunday was much of the same. One of the first jumps students made the observation that skydivers were a very close knit group and he was very right (he made his First Jump that day and later made his first AFF Jump. For him it was the Best Day Ever…). We grieve, we celebrate, we take care of each other, we move on…

We are all pretty gutted right now because John was one of those guys who was going to live forever and was never on “that” list. He left a big wake behind him and left quite a legacy of people he trained and mentored over the years.

Here’s to him… and those like him…. Damn few left… BSBD


Premier SkymonkeyONE  (D 12501)

May 6, 2013, 7:32 AM
Post #10 of 28 (4254 views)
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Re: [mstlaurent] Fatality - Edmonton - Canada - 4 May 2013 [In reply to] Can't Post

That's horrible news. As others have previously stated, John was a VERY-current, SUPER-experienced skydiving professional that had every rating and took jumping very seriously. I had worked with him on at least six MFF courses in Canada and was always stoked to see him in Eloy over the winters.

I'd need more than the fingers on both hands to count the number of such EXTREMELY-qualified full-time jumpers I knew personally who have died from such incidents in just the last ten years. One of them, Tonto, was a moderator on these forums!

None of us, no matter how much we train, are exempt from the widowmaker when just one critical component goes wrong during a landing.

Yet another horrible loss for the community.

Chuck


nigel99  (D 1)

May 6, 2013, 7:35 AM
Post #11 of 28 (4242 views)
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Re: [Remster] Fatality - Edmonton - Canada - 4 May 2013 [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Nigel: I realize you talked about generalities, but John wasn't a young shot who overestimated his skills. H was a very experienced jumper who just messed up his landing and paid the price. I wasn't there so I won't make comments that are not 1st hand info, but it can happen to anyone who pushes limits.

BSBD

Yeah, I was very careful to reply as a general rule and exclude this incident.


mpohl

May 6, 2013, 7:49 AM
Post #12 of 28 (4205 views)
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Re: [Andy9o8] Fatality - Edmonton - Canada - 4 May 2013 [In reply to] Can't Post

 
Agreed. And if one does not get killed outright, it certainly will change the trajectory of ones life. And not necessarily for the better.

To wit: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/timsagehorn. Guy got busted pretty bad about 18 mo. ago. Might make for a worthwhile read.


CloudyHead  (A License)

May 6, 2013, 8:35 AM
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Re: [mstlaurent] Fatality - Edmonton - Canada - 4 May 2013 [In reply to] Can't Post

i had to come home from work today because my head is a mess from this. The goosebumps won't stop. He taught me a big portion of my AFF. When I got my solo license, he was the first one to pat me on the back and say congratulations. He taught me how to control my fear. I knew he was retired military before he even told me because you can sense it through his personality. Just by the way he carries himself, so focused and self disciplined. Despite him "acting" military though the guy had an awesome sense of humor, and knew how to have fun. He was badass as fuck. :)


Sky_doggy  (C 41295)

May 6, 2013, 10:13 AM
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Re: [CloudyHead] Fatality - Edmonton - Canada - 4 May 2013 [In reply to] Can't Post

I always feel discouraged when I see highly experienced, skilled and current people who participate in a risk sport perish.

At some point these accidents can be broken in to an accident chain with a couple of key links. For highly "expiencened / current" people I often I tend to see external factors such as equipment failure. I am speaking in general terms here, my experience base comes from aviation.

Although it's speculation, are there factors like broken lines, gear failure, time of day or environmental aspect affecting sight picture that may have come into play here ?

My condolances to the Edmonton skydiving group and John's family. The pain of an event like this lives on for a long time.


catfishhunter  (D 28796)

May 6, 2013, 1:38 PM
Post #15 of 28 (3583 views)
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Re: [Sky_doggy] Fatality - Edmonton - Canada - 4 May 2013 [In reply to] Can't Post

 When you dance on razor' edge it isn't a matter of if you will get cut but when, if you continue to dance. I'm sure this man knew this but how many really understand it?

The margins between a bad ass swoop and death or so very small when your on the edge of the blade. You cannot miss...ever...

BSBD


CanuckInUSA  (D 26396)

May 6, 2013, 4:33 PM
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Re: [catfishhunter] Fatality - Edmonton - Canada - 4 May 2013 [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
You cannot miss...ever...

No you can not miss. But you have to be a swooper to understand why they do it. A few years back, it got to the point where all I wanted to do was swoop, all I ever did do was swoop (I used to be a competitive swooper, not good enough to win PST events, but good enough to be allowed to compete in them). But I can't stay current now where I live (also in Alberta where this incident occurred), so to avoid being an incident myself I had to hang up the small pocket rocket canopy.

If anyone here actually witnessed this incident can they tell me where John impacted? Eden North has a very open mostly flat landing area, but there is a bit of a slope closest to hanger where sometimes the more experienced people land and landing on this slope can be tricky especially on sunset loads.


(This post was edited by CanuckInUSA on May 6, 2013, 4:37 PM)


robinheid  (D 5533)

May 6, 2013, 4:53 PM
Post #17 of 28 (3361 views)
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Re: [mistercwood] Fatality - Edmonton - Canada - 4 May 2013 [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
I pine for the days when getting a good canopy over your head basically ensured that your life was saved.

My despair at reading this type of incident report over and over again for the past 15 years is beyond description.

I'm taking the silver lining approach. As a baby in the sport, I literally don't know what I don't know. Any outsider would assume that the only risky part is the bit between exiting and opening - after that you're golden. As terrible as it is to see these reports, I see the overwhelming majority of them involved poor decision making at landing time. This has already drilled into me that I damn well better devote every part of my focus to the entire dive, all the way to the packing mat. Then I can stop thinking, but not a minute sooner.

Funny you should say that. When I was teaching first jumpers, I'd ask them:

"What are you going to tell your friends you did today?"

"Jumped out of an airplane," all of them would almost always say.

"But that's the easy part," I'd say, "and the safe part too -- at long as the airplane is way up in the air. So I'll ask again: What are you going to tell your friends you did today?"

And they'd mostly figure it out and respond with some variation on: "Made a safe parachute landing."

And as you said about these incident reports, that's the key takeaway: The only thing that really truly actually counts is how you come back into contact with the ground. Period. Full stop. (Pun intended.)

I'm not going to comment on this specific incident, but in so many of them, people with the experience and knowledge and good judgment to not kill themselves landing end up killing themselves landing anyway.

Complacency?

A moment of inattention?

Bad luck?

Whatever the proximate cause, the bottom line is: You can make a lot more mistakes up high than you can down low and as the old saying goes:

Ride the last fence.

As you pointed out, until you're down on the ground, your parachute is deflated and gathered, and you're well off the landing area and away from the runway, you are in danger and can't let your guard down for even a moment.

It's great to see that your instructors are drilling this into you -- and that you're absorbing it. Be sure to pass the word yourself too; every little bit helps.

Condolences to friends and family. I knew him too and it's always a shame to lose such a good man.

Frown
44


Bill_K  (D 30260)

May 6, 2013, 7:21 PM
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Re: [MajorDad] Fatality - Edmonton - Canada - 4 May 2013 [In reply to] Can't Post

Maj. Dad, first of all, my sincerest condolences on from all accounts one of the truly great ones!

I ask this question only based on the pictures that made one of the news articles. Did he happen to be wearing a helmet? It may not have mattered, I don't know, but the picture made me wonder it and wonder if it might have been a factor. Head injuries can be the trickiest...

Again, my condolences to you on your loss.

BK Unimpressed


mikepeat

May 7, 2013, 7:09 AM
Post #19 of 28 (2752 views)
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Re: [mistercwood] Fatality - Edmonton - Canada - 4 May 2013 [In reply to] Can't Post

mistercwood wrote:
Sorry, I could have written that better - I meant it's the landing itself that is the issue, not a mal or a no-pull. As you correctly point out, it's the chain of events that lead to that landing being fatal.

I think you're still missing the point. While it may not apply in this particular instance because of the jumpers experience, many high performance canopy related deaths occur because the deceased purchased a canopy that was too hot for them. Low, high performance turns kill more skydivers than anything else. Yeah, it looks cool, yeah, we've all done it, many of us were lucky. Just because we are still here does not mean that we should have been under a small, high performance canopy.


FB1609  (C 1409)

May 7, 2013, 8:58 AM
Post #20 of 28 (2620 views)
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Re: [CanuckInUSA] Fatality - Edmonton - Canada - 4 May 2013 [In reply to] Can't Post

CanuckInUSA wrote:
In reply to:
t I can't stay current now where I live (also in Alberta where this incident occurred), so to avoid being an incident myself I had to hang up the small pocket rocket canopy.

Well this jumper was apparently very current, so not sure how much that has to do with these incidents honestly.


JohnMitchell  (D 6462)

May 7, 2013, 9:08 AM
Post #21 of 28 (2603 views)
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Re: [catfishhunter] Fatality - Edmonton - Canada - 4 May 2013 [In reply to] Can't Post

catfishhunter wrote:
The margins between a bad ass swoop and death or so very small when your on the edge of the blade. You cannot miss...ever...
this is one reason why I upsized a few years back. I'm not saying I can't get killed or I won't get killed, but I wanted a little more margin for error. Unsure


popsjumper  (D 999999999)

May 7, 2013, 9:40 AM
Post #22 of 28 (2564 views)
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Re: [FB1609] Fatality - Edmonton - Canada - 4 May 2013 [In reply to] Can't Post

FB1609 wrote:
CanuckInUSA wrote:
In reply to:
t I can't stay current now where I live (also in Alberta where this incident occurred), so to avoid being an incident myself I had to hang up the small pocket rocket canopy.

Well this jumper was apparently very current, so not sure how much that has to do with these incidents honestly.

Food for thought for all of us.


Premier Remster  (C License)

May 7, 2013, 10:57 AM
Post #23 of 28 (2484 views)
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Re: [FB1609] Fatality - Edmonton - Canada - 4 May 2013 [In reply to] Can't Post

FB1609 wrote:
CanuckInUSA wrote:
I can't stay current now where I live (also in Alberta where this incident occurred), so to avoid being an incident myself I had to hang up the small pocket rocket canopy.

Well this jumper was apparently very current, so not sure how much that has to do with these incidents honestly.

What it has to do with this is that, if you fly a very small, very highly loaded canopy, even being current will not garrantee a small mistake won't kill you.

If you know your won't be current, then upsize like Canuck did. Again, it won't guarantee anything, but it moves the odds away.


(This post was edited by Meso on May 7, 2013, 11:08 AM)


mistercwood  (Student)

May 8, 2013, 1:43 AM
Post #24 of 28 (2080 views)
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Re: [mikepeat] Fatality - Edmonton - Canada - 4 May 2013 [In reply to] Can't Post

mikepeat wrote:
mistercwood wrote:
Sorry, I could have written that better - I meant it's the landing itself that is the issue, not a mal or a no-pull. As you correctly point out, it's the chain of events that lead to that landing being fatal.

I think you're still missing the point. While it may not apply in this particular instance because of the jumpers experience, many high performance canopy related deaths occur because the deceased purchased a canopy that was too hot for them. Low, high performance turns kill more skydivers than anything else. Yeah, it looks cool, yeah, we've all done it, many of us were lucky. Just because we are still here does not mean that we should have been under a small, high performance canopy.

There are many points to take away from this incident and others like it. Don't worry, that one didn't go past me either... Wink


dqpacker  (D 32043)

May 8, 2013, 9:49 AM
Post #25 of 28 (1842 views)
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Re: [mstlaurent] Fatality - Edmonton - Canada - 4 May 2013 [In reply to] Can't Post

anyone know canopy, size, wingloading? also was there a downsizing recently? was he jumping this winter or had the season just started for him being in canada?


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