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Spectator hurt in demonstration jump

By adminon - Read 1169 times

Gloucester, UK - DENISE Peacock was enjoying what seemed to be a perfect day out in the sunshine with her family - but seconds later a freak accident left her lucky to be alive.

The 36-year-old, from Coney Hill, was at a bumper May Day celebration in Gloucester watching a parachuting display when she heard a noise above her head.

Before the mother-of-two knew what was happening, she lay writhing in agony on the ground after one of the parachutists lost control in heavy winds, sailed out of the arena, and careered straight into her and her young family.

Today the Church Way resident is on crutches and off work - but she knows she's lucky not to have been more seriously hurt.

The vending machine operator suffered tissue damage and severe bruising to her legs, while husband Lawrence, 37, and children Amy, 12, and Sean, eight, all sustained cuts and bruises.

The parachutist is believed to have broken his leg, and remains in Gloucestershire Royal Hospital today.

Ambulances rushed Denise and the parachutist, from the volunteer Falling Rocks parachute team, to the hospital.

She was released after eight hours of treatment. He will remain in hospital for at least another week.

The family were at Coney Hill Neighbourhood Project's May Day celebrations at Coney Hill Primary School on Bank Holiday Monday when the accident happened.

The three-strong volunteer parachute team's performance, which took place at 2.15pm, was meant to be the highlight of the bumper event.

"The winds were so strong we thought they wouldn't jump," said Denise. "They took off about 20 minutes late, and they were all over the place.

"I don't have a clue how it happened, it was all so fast.

"People said the parachutist shouted for me to watch out, but I didn't hear anything.

"All I remember is lying on the ground in agony after he smashed into me, hitting the back of my legs.

"I was rushed to hospital. I've got a huge lump on one of my legs and I'm told I sustained tissue damage in the other, so I'm stuck on crutches and I can't go to work.

"The parachutist is in hospital at the moment - he's badly hurt. It was a nightmare."

Parachutist Colin Laker, who landed safely just before his out-of-control colleague, denied the winds were too strong to take the jump - but he admitted he probably got caught in an unexpected gust.

"It just happens once in a blue moon. We have to put it down to a tragic accident, I'm afraid," he said.

"The wind was most definitely not too strong to take the jump. It was very comfortable for us and there was no question of us not doing it.

"I understand the parachutist concerned landed beside the woman, and rolled over onto her - it was his momentum that caught her.

"He must have been caught in a gust of wind when he was up there, and was knocked out of control. I can only apologise and put it down to a freak accident."

Mr Laker said the parachutist did not wish to be identified.

Denise claimed she never received an apology from anyone at Coney Hill Neighbourhood Project, who organised the event.

But project spokeswoman Val O'Connor claimed it was not their responsibility.

"We contracted the Falling Rocks team to do a piece of work for us - and the decision to do the jump was taken by them and them only," she said.



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