Forums: Skydiving: Skydiving History & Trivia:
Night jump over the Arctic



May 11, 2012, 6:09 AM
Post #1 of 2 (658 views)
Night jump over the Arctic Can't Post

I was browsing Google results searching for regulations around parachute jumping and came across this article. There are some very wild people on this Earth...


On November 12, 1996, Search and Rescue Technicians
Mitchell and Pierce carried out an unprecedented night parachute
jump into freezing Arctic waters to provide medical aid to a critically
ill fisherman onboard a Danish trawler near Resolution Island,
Northwest Territories. Tasked initially as back-up to another
air rescue team, the Hercules aircraft with Master Corporals
Mitchell and Pierce on board arrived first on the scene only to
learn that the stricken seaman had taken a turn for the worse.
There was no time to waste so they elected to attempt a risky
parachute descent. With inadequate flare illumination and the
promised Zodiac boat not yet launched from the Danish trawler,
they jumped in extremely strong winds that carried them away
from the vessel. As they entered the three-metre waves,
MCpl Mitchell became entangled in the shroud lines under his
partially collapsed chute canopy, while MCpl Pierces chute
remained inflated and dragged him face down through the water
farther away from the ship. Although equipped with dinghies,
they could not paddle nor swim to the trawler because of heavy
seas and severe icing. Struggling to stay afloat, they battled the
onset of hypothermia for 15 minutes before the crew of an iceencrusted
Zodiac picked them up and delivered them to the ship
where they carried out medical procedures that saved the patients

(copied from here:

(This post was edited by mitirino on May 11, 2012, 6:11 AM)

pchapman  (D 1014)

May 11, 2012, 8:08 AM
Post #2 of 2 (636 views)
Re: [mitirino] Night jump over the Arctic [In reply to] Can't Post

Interesting; I hadn't heard of that case.
They were only partially successful there because they couldn't get to their objective, but were of assistance when assisted by an arriving ship later.

It brings to mind the more recent Canadian SARTECH rescue attempt in the Arctic in 2011. In that case, one SARTECH jumper was able to get to the people they were trying to help - assisting until other help arrived hours later. Another jumper only was able to save himself and get in his raft but not to render assistance. And a third jumper was unable to save himself and died.

First you have to be able to save yourself before saving others -- not easy to do when jumping into open arctic water in bad weather.

(This post was edited by pchapman on May 11, 2012, 8:21 AM)

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