Nov 28, 2005, 7:45 PM
Post #1 of 216
Okay here is a thread from a Springfield Mo news station. This accident happened just a short time ago and was heavly disscussed with the surrounding DZ's of that area for some time and was never posted here. The event is now public knowledge and I feel fre to post it so that we all can learn form these mistakes.
The run down. This jumper is dating her instructor. The AFF-I instructor has been on probation at a small DZ for non safe skydive instruction and is told that he can not teach his new girlfriend AFF at this DZ for this reason and the simple fact that there is a no staff student dating policy in place. The instructor wants to put his girlfriend student out on a sabre-2 170 that is not sized for the container he wants to put it in. He is told that this is not a good idea from riggers and experienced jumpers, so he takes his girlfriend to a diffrent DZ and makes the jump happen there. During deployment the student has a toggle that is unstowed from possibly a bad pack job and not knowing what is going on she does a clean cutaway. This where the things gets intresting.... her reserve is spinning and she later states she did not know why it was spinning. The FAA did not find anything wrong with the gear and no real reason was ever come up with as to why her reserve did not fly correctly.
the people that jump at the DZ where the student and instructor are from have a messgae board and the people that jump at the dz where the accident happened also chat and view this board. We all have pondered this accident and have never really come up with a solid answer as to why this occured. My thoughts came after I saw the actuall video of the jump and it looks like one toggle on her reserve was also undone and the student did nothing to fix the spin. I hope that others will learn form this and make skydiving safer for all. Sorry this is a long read.
you make a good point for instructors not dating the students. one i strongly agee with even though i am single [;)
did the student release the brakes on the reserve, how did you get the video?
if the facts are as stated ie the instructore was told not to teach his girlfriend yet still went ahead is there some form of disciplinary action pending?
this thread may belong in the instructors forum so that junior instructors can understand the importance of using the right gear, proffesional approach to instruction et.
we as instructors can not allow ourselves to be placed in a position were our relationships can cause us to become distracted from the task of teaching students and providing them with survival skills.
one point here though the instructor must have done something right if the student did her reserve drills correctly
Teaching your significant other to do anything is never a good idea. My wife dives and I am a SCUBA instructor, I learned the hard way not to "Instruct" my wife to do anything, now I use the subtle approach of getting another instructor to relay the message for me. Sad in a way, but diplomatic and effective.
Why? If a student is very small (and also very lightweight) and therefore in danger of falling out of regular (280/220) student rigs, a sabre 170 or 190 might not be a bad idea, IMO. It´s been done here before. However a Sabre2 is more hp and wouldn´t be allowed here.
Putting a 100 lbs girl in a one-size-fits-most rig can also be described as `attempted murder` since falling out of such a rig is easily possible.
That said, I have no clue about this particular girl, and I agree with the no-dating rule....
The guy clearly has issues, but he hasn't done anything illegal.
He is an instructor that can jump at any dropzone, if they have a non student instructor dating policy, then he is well within his own rights to jump elsewhere.
His gear choice wasn't the best but only because the canopy wasn't correctly sized for the container. I will make no assumption about wingloading (although sabre2 probably not the most student friendly if I am honest).
The intent in posting is to help show that the chain of saftey was broken and red flags should have been obvious. Thsi student, even though dating her instructor had questions on the saftey of this main in that container, thus the public disscussion prior to the jump. If you have questions and you are nervous you should get thos questions answered by as many knowledgeable outside sources as possible. And to answer the next question. No she was not dating him before she made her first skydive.. maybe they started dating on jump 2 of the ten she has made.. the first jump was a tandem and then he took over.
We are all still trying to figure out why her reserve had a hung slider and it was spinning. FAA and other riggers could not see anything wrong with the gear.
The intent in posting is to help show that the chain of saftey was broken and red flags should have been obvious.
Then unless this girl was hurt, this post should not be in the incident forum, but maybe the instructors or S/T forum?
Edit: Just noticed it has been moved.
In reply to:
Thsi student, even though dating her instructor had questions on the saftey of this main in that container, thus the public disscussion prior to the jump.
IMO if the student had unanswered questions on the gear she was jumping, and voiced her concern to other jumpers about it, then maybe the DZM or DZO should have been involved before she was allowed to board the plane? And if the other jumpers that suspected this girl is being put into unsafe gear, allow the her to jump that gear, without bringing someone with more experience into the situation, they are wrong too for not bringing it up.
In reply to:
No she was not dating him before she made her first skydive.. maybe they started dating on jump 2 of the ten she has made.. the first jump was a tandem and then he took over.
That's a DZ issue and has nothing to do with other jumpers on the DZ.
In reply to:
We are all still trying to figure out why her reserve had a hung slider and it was spinning. FAA and other riggers could not see anything wrong with the gear.
Reserves can malfuction too.
Be safe Ed
(This post was edited by bodypilot1 on Nov 29, 2005, 9:32 AM)
IMO if the student had unanswered questions on the gear she was jumping, and voiced her concern to other jumpers about it, then maybe the DZM or DZO should have been involved before she was allowed to board the plane? And if the other jumpers that suspected this girl is being put into unsafe gear, allow the her to jump that gear, without bringing someone with more experience into the situation, they are wrong too for not bringing it up
This is a very good point. Other jumpers did bring up the saftey issue of this. stuffing a 190 into a container sized for a 135 was not a great idea and thus expressed by others. One of the many reasons this instructor was told he could not jump that at his home DZ. This reason as well as a few others is why they went to a diffrent DZ away from the home dz. The away DZ was a place that this instructor had made many jumps at in the past so he was welcome there. As far as the DZO having suspect and stopping anyone at the DZ from jumping. I don't know all the in's and out's of the procedures for gear checks there but this one seemed to slip thru the cracks. Joe
As far as the DZO having suspect and stopping anyone at the DZ from jumping. I don't know all the in's and out's of the procedures for gear checks there but this one seemed to slip thru the cracks.
This was an odd situation.
This was a student jump that was conducted totally outside of our student program using a technique(AFF) we don't even offer, taught by a third party instructor. Even the rig was brought into our DZ by the AFF instructor and not one of our student rigs.
Manifest verified that the rig had an in-date reserve as well as an AAD and RSL(our standard check for a sport rig that's going to be used by someone on student status). Normally, if a student is jumping a sport rig, they check with their Instructor to make sure it's approriate. Since her Instructor brought the rig, it did not occur to me(or anyone else AFAIK) to check the canopy size.
(This post was edited by BlindBrick on Nov 29, 2005, 9:26 PM)
Ok Ok....I retract my "Attempted Murder" statement. it was certainly uncalled for and ill-considered.
I still stand by my view that putting a low jump number student under a canopy like that is asking for trouble. The margin for error is just so much smaller than a big slow student rig.
Respect to the people who have posted here about doing their first jumps under small canopies, I am glad it all worked out ok for you.
However we see that in this case the choice was not the correct one. An unstowed brake on a 288 is nowhere near as traumatic as on a 190 Sabre. The very fact that she didnt get the damn thing unstowed and had to cut is an indication that she was being put in a situation she was not ready for yet. I have not seen the video, but I have doubts about her body position after cutting a spinning main and her unstable deployment of the reserve may also have factored in its malfunction. Yes... pure speculation, I know.
In short, for this jumper, the instructor/boyfriend clearly overestimated her ability to cope with a correctable situation and I take my hat off to her for following the EP's and wish her the best of luck on her road to recovery.
(This post was edited by noluckned on Nov 30, 2005, 1:08 AM)
Just to clarify a bit more... The instructor was NOT on probation at his home dropzone, I don't know how this rumor got started. The only reason he took the student to the other dropzone was that they were going to let him jump her for slots. Basically he was trying to save her some money. Good intentions, poor implementation. She cut away a good main. It was spinning due to a dislodged toggle that was created from doing rear riser turns without first releasing the toggles. Part of her yellowcard. A matter of panic, nothing more. She experience a hung slider on her reserve for who knows what reason. She claims to have pumped the breaks several times all the way until the point at which she was going in and thought she was going to die. The canopy was spinning as if she had one toggle fully pulled down. The centrifigul force she was experiencing probably prohibited her from doing any kind of a PLF. Her face impacted the asphault at the same time as the canopy. This is apparently visible on the original video. It is hard to tell on the quicktime clip mentioned earlier. She was a small girl weighing in at about 110 pounds. She was put out on a Sabre2 190. The reserve was a 170. Many of these facts were left out of the original post, I'm not sure why. Like Joe stated earlier, we have been discussing this locally for some time so he was aware of these facts as well, or should have been. Many of us have opinions on the whole affair but the fact of the matter is, she is alive. She's had four surgery's on her face and is expected to make a full recovery. She is even talking about continuing her skydiving training once she is fully healed.
The student that was hurt in this accident has been traveling to all the local news stations of south east kansas, south West Missouri and North East Arkansas with her story.
She leaves out so many of the facts that it would make you cringe!
Pregnant Skydiver Survives Plunge
.c The Associated Press
SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. (AP) - Pregnant skydiver Shayna Richardson has survived a face-first plunge into the ground.
Richardson, 21, of Joplin, Mo., was making her first solo jump in Siloam Springs, Ark., on Oct. 9 when her main parachute failed and her reserve chute didn't fully deploy.
Richardson was falling at about 50 mph when she hit face first in a parking lot. Badly injured, but alive, Richardson spent 16 days in a hospital.
``I heard a snap and I started spinning and I didn't know why. I didn't know what to do to fix it. I didn't know how to make it stop,'' Richardson told Fort Smith, Ark., television station KFSM.
She cut away her primary chute so her reserve could deploy.
``It's called your guaranteed open. That's what everyone refers to it as,'' Richardson said.
But the reserve didn't open all the way.
``To have a malfunctioning reserve is one in a million. It just doesn't happen,'' Richardson said.
She spun out of control, heading straight for the asphalt of a parking lot below.
``At the end I said, 'I'm going to die. I'm going to hit the ground. I'm going to die,''' she said. ``I don't remember it. I don't remember hitting the ground. I don't remember the impact or anything that came with it.''
She landed face first.
``In the hit, I egg shelled my entire face. Everything got egg shelled. I broke my pelvis in two places and I broke my leg,'' Richardson said.
Rescuers got her to a hospital in Fayetteville where Richardson underwent surgery.
``I went into the first surgery where they cut me from ear to ear and they cut my face down and they took out all the fractured egg-shelled bones and put in steel plates,'' Richardson said.
During treatment, doctors found that Richardson was pregnant, which was a surprise to her.
She said she would not have jumped had she known she was pregnant.
``To hit the ground belly first - that's dangerous. I mean at any stage of pregnancy that's dangerous. That's not something you want to do let alone at 50 miles per hour,'' Richardson said.
Four surgeries and two months later, Richardson said she and her fetus are doing fine.
``Just this last week we went and saw the doctor and we've got arms, we've got legs. We've got a full face. The baby is moving around just fine. The heart rate looks good. So not only did God save me but he spared this baby,'' Richardson said.
Richardson has 15 steel plates in her face and lost six teeth. Her fall was videotaped and Richardson said she was able to watch it, without qualms.
``I wanted to watch it,'' said Richardson. ``And the whole reason I'm comfortable with watching it because I know how it ends.''
Richardson said her due date is June 25. She said she plans to make her next parachute jump in August.
The motovation behind these actions seem to be the all mighty dollar as has set us a bank account that viewers can donate to her medical expenses..
Here is her side of the story as per a private disscussion board from those listed area DZ's.
"Guys...I am not bothered by any questions...I hope people can and will learn from my accident. Yes...I did jump Sunny's main...and no I do not believe the size had anything to do with the accident. Before my jump Rick took my rig with that main on a hop and pop and the parachute deployed perfectly. After that we went up for my 10th jump and first AFF. The malfunction could probably have been fixed by a more experienced jumper. What happened exactly was this...we jumped from 10,000 ft, and I performed the dive perfectly. I deoplyed at 5500 and had a perfect canopy. With my breaks still stowed I attempted some reriser turns just for practice. During my turns I heard a heart stopping SNAP that sent me into an uncontrolable spin, so I cut it away. My first thought was that I had broken lines...but after landing it was determined that one of my breaks snap free, and was unstowed. Not recognizing the problem, and not really knowing what had caused the snap or spinning I thought it best to cutaway and go to the reserve. The reserve also deployed properly, but the slider did not come down, and it appeared to me that part of the canopy was stuffed throught he graument of the slider. This once again sent me into an uncontrolable spin. I flared the canopy several times, and did everything I was intructed to by my radio, and by Rick in the air. Nothing I attempted worked. I have jumped a 190 every jump before this at Freefall Express, and I weigh 125 lbs. This accident is simply that...an accident. Like I said...my lack of experience was my worst enemy...an experienced skydiver would have recognized the problem, and known how to fix it. I guess my #1 lesson from all of this is...don't be so quick to cutaway! Simply unstowing the other brake would have straightened me out, and allowed me a safe and fun skydive. However, I didn't know, and the only way to learn is to keep jumping. Rick says that students aren't taught to repair all simple malfunctions like that becuase they will spend too much time trying to fix it, and not ever cutaway. Given the fact that the reserve is supposed to be your "guaranteed open" I understand that way of thinking. In most cases it is probably safer to cutaway then to try to fix the main, but I happen to be the fluke that didn't get a good reserve. I will not blame anyone for anything...the only person I could possibly be upset with is myself...and trust me...I have torn myself up about cuting away so quickly, and not even trying to fix that main. After having my baby (which by the way is due June 25, 2006) I fully entend to return to skydiving. Rick received his static line rating the same day as the accident, and plans to return to jumping this comming weekend. I know my accident brought up many questions and concerns, and I hope that this answers most of it. Please rest assured that your questions do not offend me or discomfort me in anyway. I am happy to be alive, and I don't think there is anything wrong with educating people from my near fatal accident.
Back to the baby... I saw my OB/GYN for the first time today and got our first baby pictures and got to see the heartbeat! It was very exciting, and even made me cry a little. I didn't realize how emotional this baby would make me. The doctor says that the baby is appearing healthy and normal so far, and that the pain medication I have been taking will not hurt the baby (thank God...because I hurt!!!). The doctor did say that I will probably have to have a c-section delivery because of the pelvis fractures. I kind of thought that might be the case, and at this point I know I can handle either way...lol. My mouth is still wired shut, and will be for 5 more weeks!!! I am very tired of eating through a straw!!! I am scared to death that morming sickness might kick in before my mouth gets unwired. If I do start getting sick we have to try to cut the wires loose...and that doesn't sound like something I want to do when I am in the process of vomiting...lol. The joys of combining injury and pregnancy...lol. I am still very happy like I said simply to be alive. The pain sometimes makes me question that happiness, but then I see my baby pictures, and I am happy again. Well...I just reread my post and realized I am rambling...so I am going to go now. I hope all this information means something to somebody...lol...oh...and my address for any letters "