Skydiver cheats death after jump goes wrong

    A SKYDIVER was critically ill in hospital last night after falling more than 3,000 feet when his parachute failed to open properly. Craig Paton, 26, hit the ground at more than 40mph when his first ever skydive went tragically wrong.
    After his main parachute malfunctioned, he fell to the ground in just 60 seconds, when a normal descent from 3,200ft should take four minutes.
    Mr Paton landed on a lush grass embankment which cushioned his fall, missing a concrete road and certain death by only a few feet.
    Although he suffered not a single broken bone, he remained in a drug-induced coma in intensive care at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary last night with internal bleeding in his chest.
    Mr Paton's mother, Marion, and sister, Dawn, 21, were at his bedside last night where his condition was described as "serious but stable".
    Speaking from his Kilmarnock home, his father, John, said last night: "Quite honestly he shouldn't really be here."
    Mr Paton, who is single, joined work colleagues for the charity jump on Saturday when another man pulled out. After a day of training at Strathallan Airfield, near Auchterarder, he leapt from a Cessna light aircraft in a static line jump, a technique used for beginners.
    Two people had already jumped out of the aircraft without problems as it circled over the Perthshire airfield.
    But when he jumped out a few seconds later, the jumpmaster noticed immediately that there was a serious problem.
    The parachute malfunction meant Mr Paton began falling so fast he overtook his friends, who were enjoying a controlled descent.
    As he came within a few hundred feet of the ground, the stricken jumper tried to release the back-up parachute which would save his life. But it became entangled in the first parachute and the man was still travelling at 40 miles per hour when he ploughed into the ground.
    The plane, flown by Skydive Strathallan owner Kieran Brady, immediately headed back to the runway to summon help.
    Despite the massive impact, Mr Paton was conscious when rescuers reached him. Suffeirng severe chest injuries, he was rushed to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee by the specialist trauma team. He was later transferred to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.
    Mr Paton's father, John, 52, who runs a newsagent and dairy business with his only son, told The Scotsman: "He only went up because someone had dropped out and he said he would go and do it for the fun. It was the first time he had ever done a jump."
    He added: "The police have told us that he landed on the banking of a road which sits higher than a grass area and then slid or rolled down the banking.

    "If he had hit the road he would not be here.
    "They are keeping him doped up to make sure he does not move about too much while they try and find out what is causing the bleeding in his chest.
    "Craig does weights and runs a lot and the doctors said that is one of the factors which has saved him."
    Tayside Police and the British Parachute Association confirmed yesterday they are investigating the cause of the accident.
    A police spokesman said: "We were called to Strathallan Airfield at 7.30pm because of an accident involving a parachutist.
    "Inquiries are still ongoing into the incident, but it sounds asif he was pretty lucky to survive the fall."
    Mr Brady, of Skydive Strathallan, said the parachute which malfunctioned had been used safely on numerous previous occasions. He added that such problems are "very rare".

    By admin, in News,

    Main Reserve Entanglement Injures Skydiver in Scotland

    A TRAINEE skydiver was seriously ill in hospital last night after his parachute failed to open during a jump from 3,200ft. Craig Paton, 26, hit the ground at 40mph at Auchterarder, Perth and Kinross.
    He was taken to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee suffering from internal bleeding and back and chest injuries and was later transferred to the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh where his condition was said to be critical but stable.
    Mr Paton, who comes from Kilmarnock and is a member of the Skydiver Strathallan Club, was one of four people booked on a flight leaving Strathallan airfield on Saturday evening.
    When his main parachute failed to open properly, Mr Paton tried to deploy his second parachute but it became entangled in the first. He managed to deploy it partially a few hundred feet before he hit the ground, which helped to lessen the impact.
    His father said it was a "miracle" that his son was still alive. John Paton, 52, a milkman from Kilmarnock, said: "The doctors who saw him have said that he should not be there. He has suffered massive internal bleeding after bursting the vessels to his kidneys and lungs. He has a broken back and may have sprained his ankle.
    "Of course, we are all praying to God for him, but I’m sure that he’ll pull through because he’s fit, active and above all, very stubborn.
    "Believe me after this frightening experience he won’t be doing anything as dangerous as this again." Craig’s mother Marion, sister, Dawn, and girlfriend were at his bedside.
    Kieran Brady, chairman of the skydiving club, described Mr Paton as a student parachutist who had paid £15 for his jump. He did not know if Mr Paton had completed a solo jump before but knew that he was not a fully qualified skydiver.
    "It probably only took him about a minute before he landed in the airfield," Mr Brady said. "Normally it would be four minutes. He was conscious and talking, but he said he was in real pain. He just said, ‘Whatever do you think happened?’ He wanted to tell me, but I didn’t think we should discuss it at that point."
    A spokesman for the British Parachute Association confirmed that the incident will be investigated. He said that parachute failures were rare.

    By admin, in News,

    Ring Sights and Suspension Lines

    Included in this feature are three parts related to the death of Jan Davis at Lodi a week ago. The first part is a recent post by Jan Davis to rec.skydiving in response to the death of a fellow skydiver a while ago. Ironically the post deals with the risk risk of camera line snags, which seems to have been part of the tragic chain of events that led to her death. The second part is an article from a local newspaper regarding the Jan's accident and the third is an article about the ongoing FAA investigation.
    Ring sights and suspension lines
    From: Flyincamra ([email protected])

    Subject: Ring sights and suspension lines

    Newsgroups: rec.skydiving

    Date: 2001-03-26 09:52:24 PST
    After reading of the tragic death of a fellow camera flyer, it brought to mind my discomfort at seeing the newer small camera helmets. My helmet is a headhunter with a big squared off front for a still mount. My ring sight is mounted close in and is virtually covered up by my still platform.
    The newer helmets, whether they be top or side mount, seem to have the ring sight by neccessity sticking way out from the helmet... long posts going every which way. This weekend I was on the plane with a new cameraflyer with just such a setup. He said as soon as he was sure where he wanted it set, he would have the posts on his ring sight cut down so no excess would stick out. Still.... the post from the helmet to the sight was very long..... It made me think of the way we tape the shoes of tandems that have hooks on them instead of eyelets for shoelaces, but yet we fly with huge hooks sticking out of our helmets.....
    I don't know the configuration on the helmet the deceased was wearing, but that was the first question that came to my mind. You know... this really doesn't seem like a difficult design problem to me. It would seem possible to form the ring sight directly to the camera helmet and still incorporate a way to make the sight adjustable... thereby doing away with the posts that are sticking out there like a target in a violent malfunction.
    Yesterday, after thousands of camera jumps, I had the new and unsettling experience of feeling my left riser hang up on the back portion of my top mount video camera. I don't know how or why as it was only momentary, but I felt it pulling up at the back of my helmet, pinning my head down so I couldn't look up to see what was happening. Just as I started think about reaching to unclip the helmet, the riser popped loose and let go. No biggy, nothing serious..... but it made me wonder if I could get out of that helmet fast enough if I needed to......
    My sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Richard Lancaster.
    Jan Devil
    Skydiver killed after chute tangles
    By Andy Furillo

    Bee Staff Writer

    (Published April 1, 2001)
    A skydiver was killed outside Lodi on Saturday when her reserve parachute got tangled in a camera mounted on her helmet, officials said. Janice Irene Davis, 49, from Hollister, died in a vineyard just west of Highway 99 near Jahant Road. She had made nearly 3,000 jumps before the accident.
    The Hollister-area resident and other sky divers had jumped from a plane at about 9,000 feet, according to the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Department.
    Bill Dause, the owner of the Parachute Center in Lodi, said Davis' main chute "failed to work" at the time of the 2:03 p.m. tragedy. He said she ejected the main chute and deployed the reserve.
    Davis had been using the camera to videotape two other divers.
    "Somewhere in the process of releasing the first and deploying the second, she inadvertently became a little unstable, causing the bridle of the reserve chute to become unactive," Dause said.
    Dause said a similar fatality occurred recently in the eastern United States and "the camera definitely was the culprit."
    He said the two deaths should prompt parachute enthusiasts to examine the practice of mounting cameras on their helmets.
    He described Davis as "a very outgoing, very caring person."
    Within hours of Davis' death, Dause was back up in the air with skydiving students.
    "We didn't slow down at all," Dause said. "She wouldn't want us to stop."
    FAA seeks clues from sky diver's video camera
    The Record

    (Published April 2, 2001)
    ACAMPO -- Authorities said Sunday it will take more time to determine what happened in the final moments of parachutist Janice Irene Davis' life, because the video camera she was carrying broke on impact.
    The Federal Aviation Administration this week will begin attempting to repair a videotape that was inside the shattered camera. It may show why the 49-year-old Hollister woman's main parachute failed to open during a Saturday afternoon dive at the Parachute Center in Acampo, San Joaquin County coroner's Deputy Tom Scott said.

    Meanwhile, coroner's officials Sunday said Davis died on impact from injuries she sustained in the fall.
    Davis landed in a vineyard about 300 yards south of Jahant Road, just west of Highway 99, shortly after 2 p.m. Saturday.
    She was an experienced parachutist hired to videotape two other jumpers Saturday, those who knew her said.
    Authorities believe Davis fell 13,000 feet to her death. Her main chute apparently failed to open correctly and her backup chute got caught on the video camera attached to her helmet, officials said.
    Scott said the FAA has taken over the investigation.
    "We know nobody pushed her out of the plane, we know nobody toyed with the chute," he said. "As far as our investigation is concerned, we don't go any farther than the toxicology reports."
    Investigators from the FAA's Oakland Flight Standards District Office could not be contacted Sunday.

    By admin, in News,

    A Skydiver takes the Plunge into Marriage

    At age 24, after four years with the same fantastic person, I knew it was time to pop the big question to my wonderful girlfriend, Marie. But I knew that an extraordinary person like her deserved nothing but an extraordinary marriage proposal.
    I knew that it couldn't be over a dinner, or up in lights at a stadium or anything like that. Not that those ways are bad; they just aren't really me, and I wanted something that was unique.
    Then it came to me. I have been a skydiver for a few years and have accumulated 113 skydives to my credit. What better way to propose than to jump out of a plane! After all, marriage is "the big leap," right?
    So, on Valentine's Day, while my girlfriend and the rest of the world dutifully spent the day working, I hopped in my car and drove to Skydance Skydiving in Davis. The night before, I had taken a white bath towel, cut it in half and written the words "Marry Me" on it.
    When I showed up at the dropzone in Davis, I was a little more nervous than usual for the skydive. But once the cameraman and I got in the plane, the routines of the dive started coming back to me. The cameraman, Tim, who was going to be filming and photographing my skydive, turned to me at 11,000 feet in the plane and yelled, "You ready for this?" I wasn't sure whether he was referring to the skydive or the wedding proposal, but I shouted back, "Heck, yeah!"
    The door opened and the whoosh of the wind rushed in and filled my ears. Tim climbed outside the plane and turned to face me. I stuck my head out into the fierce wind and started the exit count: "Ready, set, go!"
    Free fall. There really is nothing like it in the world, and words do not do it justice. As soon as I exited the plane, the technique took over and all nervous energy turned into the magic flow of a skydive. I stabilized and unfurled the sign, which flapped madly in the wind. So there we were -- falling toward Earth at 120 mph. It was beautiful; peaceful, actually.
    After a little more than 30 seconds of free fall, my altimeter read 4,500 feet. It was pull time. The parachute opened, and I sank down to a tiptoe landing. The cameraman and I rushed into the video editing room to see how the video turned out. To our delight, everything turned out fantastic. Tim took the time to edit the song I wanted on it, Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes."
    It was now 6:30 p.m. on Valentine's Day, and Marie had just gotten home from work. I'd set up the family room with lighted candles and three packages. She had a note in front of her wishing her a happy Valentine's Day and instructions to not ask any questions until the final gift had been opened.
    She opened the first gift, Peter Gabriel's album "So," with the song "In Your Eyes" on it. She smiled and then went for gift No. 2: a roll of undeveloped film (which contained the still photographs of the skydive that she could develop the next day). She looked at me quizzically but remembered not to ask any questions.
    Now it was time for the big final gift. She opened it: the skydiving videotape I had filmed earlier in the day. She put the video into the VCR, not knowing what was on it. The tape began with me saying, "I'm ready to take the leap." Peter Gabriel's chorus of "In Your Eyes" rolled on and the video progressed. The door of the plane opened and Marie watched with eager anticipation. I exited the plane and unfurled the sign, which was at first so flappy she couldn't read it. The camera man flew in closer and then the words became crystal clear: "Marry Me."
    She read it ... she cried ... and she said yes.
    Brad Koch lives in Pleasanton.

    By admin, in News,

    Skydive Long Island Seeks Extension Of Lease

    Oren Peri has skydived all over the country, but the thought of floating over Long Island's scenic East End is enough to make him want to relocate here from New Paltz, he says. Peri, a carpenter as well as a professional skydiver, was one of several skydivers who testified before the Riverhead Town board Tuesday night in support of a local skydiving school's request for an extended, five-year lease within the industrial core of the former Grumman property at Calverton.
    Skydive Long Island, which says it is the only skydiving school in the area, needs to be named a qualified sponsor by the town to secure an extension on their one-year lease. With the long-term lease, the company will seek $700,000 in financing for business development and to buy a larger plane that can carry more skydivers.
    "I was limited at Spadaro," said Skydive owner Raymond Maynard, referring to the small airport in East Moriches. "Here I could grow, but there's no way I can get financing unless I have the security of a longer lease." While many supporters at the hearing welcomed the company, some safety concerns were raised. A letter was filed by Peter Wynkoop, a union representative for the National Air Traffic Control Association, who noted in an interview that "two pilots had to take evasive action" from jumpers.
    "Calverton is one of the busiest airways," Wynkoop said.
    Maynard said one incident was caused by an instructor who had difficulty speaking English and was immediately fired.
    "If everyone is in communication, everything can be coordinated," said Maynard.
    Maynard also said he believes his operation would actually decrease air traffic in the area because a skydiving symbol over Calverton will now be incorporated in the Federal Aviation Administration's aeronautical sectional chart. He says he also abides by the guidelines established by the U.S.
    Parachute Association, a nonprofit safety trade organization.
    In 15 years, the company has had one fatality with a skydiver in 1989, which Maynard said was the result of a jumper releasing himself from his parachute before landing. One of the company's planes crashed in 1991, killing the pilot and injuring three jumpers, which Maynard said was due to a faulty engine piston. A parachute association spokesman said he was not aware of any complaints received about the company.
    The company has been at Calverton since September, leasing two buildings for close to $30,000 a year and using the 10,000-foot runway.
    His company operated for 15 years out of a trailer at Spadaro, which Maynard says was an "inadequate facility" that could not handle larger planes.
    His two single-engine planes could only carry up to four jumpers and a pilot.
    The turbine engine planes he is looking to lease can carry up to 14 jumpers.
    If he was able to buy the larger plane, he said he could quadruple his business to 4,000 jumpers annually. He said he'd also like to eventually buy property at Calverton to build a wind tunnel so he can operate year-round. The tunnel would create a 120-mile-per-hour airflow that would lift "jumpers" straight up, giving them a free falling sensation.
    Town Supervisor Robert Kozakiewicz said he didn't see a "downside" to having the company at Calverton, but needs to look into safety concerns raised by some residents.
    Councilman Edward Densieski said he wasn't opposed to the business, but said he would like to see businesses such as aviation retroffiters and corporate charter jets lured to Calverton. Jack O'Connor of Grubb & Ellis, the property's exclusive marketer, said he recently had interest from five aviation-related companies interested in coming to Calverton.
    Skydive Long Island web site

    By admin, in News,

    Inquest told Skydiver Lost Control

    An inquest in Cardiff has heard how a Welsh Guardsman plummeted to his death when he lost control of his parachute over a Spanish holiday resort. A verdict of accidental death was recorded on 30-year-old Carl Henly who was on a New Year skydiving holiday on the Costa Brava when a formation jump went wrong.

    Mr Henly, an experienced parachutist with more than 150 jumps under his belt, was seen to break away from a formation of parachutists who jumped from a plane at 2,000 feet.
    Skydiving expert Kieron Brady told how the soldier lost control after flying away from the landing area in an "unsafe manoeuvre."
    Mr Brady, vice-chairman of the British Parachute Association, said that halfway through the descent Mr Henly flew away towards the town of Empuriabrava near the French border.
    He told the inquest: "The handling of the parachute as it descended closer to the ground was radical and erratic. It was a manoeuvre inconsistent with safe practice."
    Skydiving holidays
    The inquest heard that the parachute spiralled into the ground and Mr Henly died instantly from multiple injuries including a torn major artery.
    Mr Henly, of Rhiwbina, Cardiff, was based at army barracks in Aldershot at the time of the tragedy.
    The soldier - who had won a General Service Medal for service in Ulster - spent his holidays skydiving all over the world.
    After the hearing, his sister Amanda Culver said: "It would have been typical of him to break away and go sightseeing over the town.
    "Apparently it was common practice with divers at the flying school. Carl was a larger than life character - he loved parachuting, it was his life."
    During his army service, Mr Henly had visited Belize, Kenya, America and Canada on exercises.
    He had recently returned to the Welsh Guards following an attachment with the School of Infantry at Warminster in Wiltshire.

    By admin, in News,

    Plane crash survivor says he's not sure he'll try skydiving again

    DECATUR, Texas (AP) - Rob Franklin's skydiving dreams are on hold for now.
    Instead of making his maiden jump Saturday, Franklin, 32, ended up with a broken foot, concussion, gashes in his head and lip and a sore back when the skydiving school's plane went down in a field north of Fort Worth with 22 aboard. At least five others also were injured, one seriously.
    Franklin, a firefighter in the Dallas suburb of Lancaster, said he heard pilot Tom Bishop utter an expletive before he looked out the window and saw trees and grass fast approaching.
    "I was looking straight at the ground and that's all I really remember," Franklin said Sunday from his hospital bed in Fort Worth. "The next thing I remember is waking up laying on the ground. They told me I walked away from the plane, but I don't remember that."
    Franklin, William Rhodes, 28, and Glenn Hodgson, 31, were all in fair condition Sunday at Harris Methodist Fort Worth hospital, while Tim Trudeau, 45, was in serious condition, said Laura Van Hoosier, a hospital spokeswoman.
    "They all have orthopedic-type injuries," she said.
    Two victims whose names were not released were in good condition at John Peter Smith Hospital, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. A 34-year-old man was being treated for neck injuries and a 33-year-old man was being treated for leg injuries.
    Bishop, 58, said the takeoff was normal until the plane, a 1956 DeHavilland single-engine Otter, reached about 300 feet. He said a wing was caught by a "dust devil," a whirlwind that normally travels along the ground like a small tornado and becomes visible because of the dust it sucks into the air.
    "Eyewitness reports said they saw the dust devil," Bishop said Sunday. "We hit one about two weeks ago that shook us up pretty bad. It's very strange at this time of year to have those things."
    The plane skidded into a grove of trees and its left wing snapped off.
    Bishop said Skydive Texas, the school owned by him and his wife, Jean, planned to fly Sunday.
    Skydive Texas is based at Bishop Airport, a private airfield east of Decatur, about 40 miles north of Fort Worth.
    A Federal Aviation Administration spokesman said Sunday an investigation into the cause of the crash was continuing.
    Franklin, who was preparing to jump while strapped to an instructor, said he had always wanted to skydive, but isn't sure if he'll try it again.
    "It's something I've always wanted to do and I got the opportunity, so I took it," Franklin said. "It wasn't a fun day."

    By admin, in News,

    Skydiver Sues Over Jump that Went Wrong

    Joel Griffin, who said she felt as though her body had exploded, after the accident, and leaving court yesterday. Joel Griffin thought she was dying. Having crashed to the ground from a height of 3,000 metres, she had no feeling in her legs and was in excruciating pain. Told by doctors she would never walk again, the 25-year-old skydiver has overcome that, but still suffers back pain, cannot play many sports and is unable to work fulltime, she told the NSW District Court yesterday.
    Mrs Griffin, who has a six-month-old child, is suing the Byron Bay Skydiving Centre, claiming it was negligent by misleading her and failing to safely supervise the jump.
    Her counsel, Mr Andrew Morrison, SC, said in his opening address that despite his client's concerns that the wind was too strong, she was persuaded to go and reassured it was safe.
    Mrs Griffin had been told in her training that she should not skydive if the wind exceeded 15 knots, he said. Meteorological evidence would show the wind was well over 15-20 knots.
    The accident happened on November 2, 1995. It was her 28th jump and part of a publicity stunt. The skydiving business had been sold, and the old owners had planned to exchange contracts in midair.
    Before the aircraft took off, Mrs Griffin said, the safety officer on the ground, Mr Steve Lewis, had said to her "the wind was a bit suss" and that he would measure it.
    She had told him she would not go, but he said: "It'll be okay. I'll radio the plane if it gets any stronger."
    "Once we got up I noticed there was a lot of white caps on the water, and trees were moving around a lot."
    She told the instructors in the aircraft, who told her "it'd be okay".
    As they were climbing out of the aircraft, she checked with the pilot whether Mr Lewis had made any communication about wind speed. He had not, and they went ahead with the jump.
    "I could tell the wind was very strong," she said.
    "I was flying along just going straight ... and I felt myself pull backwards really hard and looked up and saw my parachute was tangled. I just started to spiral."
    She landed extremely hard, she said, and it felt as though her body had exploded.
    "At first I thought I was going to die. I couldn't feel my legs."
    She was flown to Lismore Hospital with a fractured spine and was told she would never walk again. She was later transferred to Sydney for surgery.
    Since the accident Mrs Griffin has taken part in two tandem dives, but in these jumps the instructor took the full brunt of the landing, she said.
    "Skydiving for me is a passion, and I guess I was denying that anything was wrong with me to get up and do it again."
    She wants compensation for past and future medical expenses, and for economic loss.
    The hearing continues.
    Photos: Rick Stevens and Jon Reid

    By admin, in News,

    Skydiving Plane Carrying 22 Crashes in Texas

    DECATUR, Texas (AP) - A single-engine plane carrying 21 skydivers and a pilot flew into turbulence and crashed shortly after takeoff from an airfield east of Decatur on Saturday, injuring five people but killing no one, the pilot and a Department of Public Safety official said. Pilot Tom Bishop, 58, said the takeoff was normal until the 1956 Dehavilland reached about 300 feet.
    He said a wing was caught by a "dust devil," a whirlwind that normally travels along the ground like a small tornado and becomes visible because of the dust it sucks into the air.

    "It just got under my left wing and rolled the plane to the right. I counter-acted with the rudder and aileron in the opposite direction, but there wasn't enough altitude to recover," said Bishop. The pilot said he had flown for 45 years - 30 for Delta Air Lines.
    Bishop said he planned to climb to 14,000 feet, the altitude from which the skydivers would jump.
    One of the skydivers was in the cockpit with him and was unconscious after impact, Bishop said.
    "We got everyone else out. I didn't know what was wrong with him, just that he wasn't breathing, and I began giving him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Then I noticed his seat belt seemed to be cutting off his air, and when I released that, he immediately took a breath," said Bishop, who suffered a broken rib.
    Bishop and his wife, Jean, own Skydive Texas which is based at Bishop Airport, a private airfield east of Decatur, about 40 miles north of Fort Worth. She was not aboard the plane.
    "It was traumatic. But I was expecting to see a lot worse," said Danny Timmons, a jumpmaster who was in the hangar at the private field from which the plane took off.
    Timmons said he heard the crash at about 12:30 p.m. and ran three-quarters of a mile through mud, losing both shoes, to find most of the skydivers already out of the plane.
    Timmons said if anyone had been flying but Bishop, who flew competition aerobatics for 10 years, "I believe there would be dead people. He brought it down in the safest manner he could."
    Timmons said most of those on the plane were experienced skydivers who jump each weekend. He said injuries were mostly broken legs and ribs.
    Texas DPS spokeswoman Tela Mange said the injured were taken to hospitals by helicopter. One person was listed in serious condition, three were stable and one was fair, she said.
    "My heart just fell," said Renee Thrasher, a Bishop family friend who drove to the crash site. "They're wonderful family friends. Jean has been there when I've needed anything. The whole family has."
    Marty Deiss, who lives less than a mile from the field, said she had seen many skydiving trips taking off and landing. "I would have no problem flying with them," she said.

    By admin, in News,

    BASE Jumper Cleared by Court

    Westminster man who smashed window trying to parachute off hotel has landed an acquittal. Harry Caylor found a thrill to match jumping off downtown buildings -- in a first-floor courtroom of Denver District Court on Wednesday. A four-woman, two-man jury had just acquitted the 31-year-old Westminster man of reckless endangerment. "I'm about to have an aneurysm," Caylor joked, noting that the feeling was similar to what he goes through in as a BASE jumper.
    "Racing pulse. Pounding heart. Sweaty palms," Caylor said before hugging his friends and lawyer.
    Prosecutors had charged Caylor in a botched Oct. 2 parachute jump that ended with his smashing through a window on the 21st floor of Embassy Suites.
    They contended that glass fragments would have rained down upon a hotel concierge on 19th Street if she had not stopped to pick up a pen beneath a canopy.
    But Caylor's lawyer Gage Fellows argued that it was just an accident and that the concierge, or doorkeeper, was not in harm's way.
    Fellows also emphasized the precautions Caylor took before jumping. He also pointed out that there is no law in Denver against BASE jumping, which stands for Building, Antenna, Span and Earth.
    Those arguments proved persuasive, said jury forewoman Larissa Hernandez-Ottinger.
    "We felt he took a lot of precautions," she said. "He planned this out carefully.
    "Something did go wrong, which is bad. But because of all the precautions he took, no one was injured."
    Juror Cecilia Sambrano said she agreed that the concierge did not appear to have been in danger.
    And several jurors said they believe the city ought to have a law against BASE jumping off public buildings. But since no such law exists, they saw their verdict as a separate issue.
    Hernandez-Ottinger said the jury might have convicted Caylor if he had been charged with trespass.
    Prosecutors did not file that charge, in part, because a door leading to the roof had been left unlocked, said Lynn Kimbrough, a spokeswoman for the Denver district attorney's office.
    "I'm still sorry I did it, and I'm definitely guilty of breaking their glass," said Caylor, adding he had offered to reimburse the hotel.
    But he was elated with the verdict.
    "We're going to name a cliff in Moab, Utah, after Judge Doris Burd," the trial judge, he said. "And we'll name a cliff for every one of the jurors."

    By admin, in News,