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Leap Frog Recovering From Skydiving Accident

A member of the Navy's elite "Leap Frogs" skydiving team was recovering in a hospital Wednesday from injuries he suffered when a jump from 12,000 feet went awry near the U.S.-Mexico border. Malfunctioning chutes forced USN Senior Chief Kelly Hickman, 44, into a hard landing east of Brown Field airport in Otay Mesa during a routine jump Tuesday, according to 10News.
It was the second such accident at the military drop site in as many weeks.
Medics, who found the 25-year Navy man conscious and alert in a grassy field, stabilized him before loading him onto a medical-transport helicopter, Cmdr. Jeff Alderson of U.S. Naval Special Warfare Command said.
The Coronado-based ordnance disposal technician was admitted to Scripps Mercy Hospital for treatment of a broken leg, several fractured ribs and back injuries, Alderson said. He was listed in stable condition early Wednesday.
The commander said that Hickman's main chute only partially deployed and tangled with his reserve canopy several thousand feet above ground.
The accident occurred 14 days after a similar mishap befell two other Leap Frogs as they practiced a tandem jump in the same general area.
The men were connected by a leash in midair for a stunt called a "corkscrew" and were unable to unhook from each other in time to make safe landings, officials said.
They both had to be hospitalized following the April 24 accident, one with head trauma and the other with broken ribs, Alderson said. They were discharged after several days and have been on light duty since.

By admin, in News,

Skydiver breaks leg

A skydiver was in Perth Royal Infirmary last night after badly breaking a leg while at Strathallan airfield in Perthshire.
It is believed the man, who has not yet been named, landed awkwardly at the end of an otherwise uneventful 2,000ft dive.
The latest accident comes less than a month after Craig Paton fell hundreds of feet when his jump went wrong. He suffered serious internal injuries.
Mr Paton, from Kilmarnock, was badly hurt because the canopy of his parachute failed to open and he hit the ground at over 40 miles per hour.
He has since been discharged from hospital.

By admin, in News,

Korean Special Forces Member Sets Skydiving Record

Sung Chang-woo, a member of the Republic of Korea Army Special Forces (KASF), has the highest record for the number of skydiving parachute jumps in Korea making some 5,000. The record was achieved in the "25th Skydiving and Parachute Contest," organized by KASF, on Saturday. Sung jumped off from 10,000ft above the ground with his 12 year-old daughter on Children's Day and later said in an interview that he was happy to find the time to spend with his daughter, which he finds difficult to do sometimes.
Sung first joined the KASF in 1979 and began skydiving in 1989. Sung even held his wedding ceremony in the sky, despite the strong objections from the bride's family. He also has a license in scuba-diving along with many other outdoor pursuits, and is a skydiving judge in international competitions.

By admin, in News,

Three Jump Plane-to-Plane

Joe Jennings is back at it again! Only this time, the stunt is bigger and better than anything like it before. The group shot this stunt at Skydive Arizona, in Eloy, for a television show called "That's Incredible"-a remake of the 70's show that inspired many of our current skydivers and stunt people today-which should air in late spring. Teaming up with some of the best skydivers in the world-Omar Alhegelan, Greg Gasson, and Steve Curtis - Joe planned a stunt that started three skydivers in one airplane and ended with them in a completely different airplane.






Photos: Brent Finley
Joe Jennings flew the main camera with other angles shot by Brent Finley (who graciously let us use his pictures) and Blake. Joe enlisted the piloting skills of Larry Hill and his son, Sean, to fly the two birds. Larry flew the Otter that the jumpers started in while Sean flew the Porter, which was the final destination for the jumpers. Joe also hired Scott Christianson to rig the drogue chute for the plane with an assistant, Chuck Ross. Carl Nespoli was in charge of turning on all the P.O.V. cameras mounted to the Porter and also jumping from the Porter with the drogue d-bag to deploy the drogue.
Joe's team started testing the stunt on a Tuesday, but was only able to make one jump due to the production company dealing with legal and insurance issues. On Wednesday, the production company that was originally in this backed out, so Joe hired the crew under his own production company. Thursday came and the team did one jump, which resulted in a broken drogue chute. Sean Hill recovered the Porter and landed. After that, 60 mph dust storms and the broken drogue chute brought an early end to the day. Friday came early and yielded blue skies and a wind warning. The team rushed to the DZ and had a go at it.
The team went up in the plane, ready to jump. They made their first practice jump for the day. Omar caught up with the Porter, climbed in, and waved to camera flyers! During jump number one, the three jumpers-Omar, Greg, and Steve-caught up with the plane and climbed in by 8,000 ft. This whole stunt was achieved in only 40 seconds! In an e-mail, Joe said, "We could have done it with five guys, but three was all we needed for a great stunt, so our work was done." Soon after the stunt was finished, the original producers returned and finished up the job. The final product seemed as though they never left.
Congratulations to Joe and his whole crew on this unbelievable stunt. I am sure that we will be seeing much more from Joe after this.

By admin, in News,

Student survives after parachute fails at 4,000ft

A STUDENT who survived a 4,000ft fall after her parachute failed to open during a skydiving holiday in America was recovering from her injuries at her father's home in Gloucestershire last night. Lynda Harding, 20, a chemistry student at Hull University, spent a week in intensive care in California with broken ribs, a punctured lung, a broken nose, muscular back injuries and concussion.

On a visit to the Lake Elsinore centre near Los Angeles with friends from university, she tried to use her reserve parachute when her main canopy apparently jammed.The reserve chute carried her for a short distance but it became caught in the main canopy, which had not disconnected, and she hurtled towards the ground.
Her father, Philip, 41, a violin maker, who flew to America to accompany his daughter home, said: "She is very lucky. She jumped at 4,000 feet, her parachute failed to open and she hit the ground probably at about 70 to 80 mph."
Mr Harding, a widower, of Newent, added: "The odds of this happening must be a million to one." Experts believe some drag caused by the flapping, tangled parachutes must have slowed her descent.
Miss Harding, who is expected to make a full recovery, said she could not recall what happened after she left the plane. "The only thing I remember is waking up in hospital." She was unconscious for four days. "I am totally amazed I am still alive."
She fell on to grassy scrubland but may have escaped serious injury because she fell sideways instead of on her feet or bottom. Her father said it had been his daughter's ninth jump. He said: "She was very keen on parachuting but she is in two minds now."

By admin, in News,

Skydiver drops lead weights

Bystanders at Rotorua Airport were sprayed with lead shot after a pair of 2.5kg skydiver's weights plummeted 762m, hitting the ground with such force that witness thought they were exploding bombs.
The weights, made from black fabric bags filled with lead, are used as ballast to keep a falling skydiver stable.
But during a routine jump on Sunday afternoon, skydiver Gregg Eagles left his weights tucked into the pouch that held his parachute secure in its backpack.
When he released the ripcord, they fell to the ground, landing near the airport entrance with such force that police were called to investigate reports of homemade explosives being detonated.
Police thought they might have been dealing with explosives left by a bomber and detonated when a car drove over them.
They began an investigation to see if similar incidents had happened at other airports.
Reports of the "bombs" were sent out on the news wires.
One woman was slightly injured when she was peppered with lead pellets, but Detective Sergeant Mark Loper said someone could have been killed if the bags had scored a direct hit.
Mr Eagles, a veteran of more than 500 jumps, had no idea he had lost the weights until he got a phone call yesterday morning.
He said he did not see the weights because they "blended in" and he usually used larger ones made from 4-litre oil cans.
"I really don't know how it happened ... I won't be using those weights again.
"When I found out I thought, 'Oh no, what have I killed?' Somebody could have been really badly hurt," said Mr Eagles.
Dr Chris Tindle, a physicist at Auckland University, said it was difficult to know the speed and force the weights would have reached when they hit the ground. But they were probably falling at terminal velocity.
They would have had enough force to easily cave in a car roof and anyone hit would certainly have been killed.
"It would put a great big dent in almost anything it hit."
The Civil Aviation Authority is investigating.

By admin, in News,

Cool pilot saves 11 skydivers

A SKYDIVER was killed and 11 others forced to jump for their lives in a tragedy more than 4000m above central Victoria yesterday. Simon Moline, 31, of Malvern, was sucked from the plane when his parachute opened while he was standing inside the rear door. His parachute snagged on the Cessna's tail, ripping it from the fuselage and sending the plane into a death spin over Nagambie.

Brave pilot Barry Dawson fought to steady the stricken craft long enough for the 10 remaining skydivers on board to bail out before he escaped moments before impact.
"I had no control. I just yelled at them to `Get out, get out'.
I actually gave a `Mayday, mayday, mayday'," he said last night.
One of the distressed survivors, instructor Kim Foster, said the pilot was screaming at the others to jump.
"The plane started baulking all over the sky, and the pilot's yelling `Get out of the plane'," Ms Foster said.
Another survivor, Paul Murphy, said jumpers used their instincts to escape.
"I think self-preservation comes into it a lot," he said.
A shaken Mr Murphy said Mr Dawson's actions saved lives.
"I am not a pilot, but visibility and control of the plane would have been very limited due to the tail missing," he said.
The single-engine Cessna Caravan crashed in a ball of flame at the Nagambie Skydiving Club air strip at Bailieston East about 1.15pm.
Mr Moline, still alive, hit the ground near the plane's wreckage. Ambulance officers rushed to save him but he died of massive injuries soon after.
"The weight of the person has actually pulled the back end off the plane," Sgt Rick Van De Parerd, of Benalla, said.
Last night, Mr Moline's devastated family was trying to understand the tragedy.
"I have all my other children here and we are grieving together," his father, John, said.
The skydivers were practising for team competition at the time of the accident. Mr Moline was an experienced skydiver with about 2000 jumps in his log and was taking part in his eighth jump of the day.
The plane had taken off about 1pm and was flying over the Goulburn Valley Highway.
Shocked local Ron Sidebottom watched the fiery aftermath from the verandah of his Kettles Rd home just 300m away.
"Out on the verandah I saw flames and smoke off in the paddocks. Then I heard woof, woof, woof and I looked up and saw the plane tail coming down through the sky," he said.
"There were parachutists on either side, about three or four of them just floating down through the air along with the back half of the plane."
Mr Dawson said he could scarcely believe he was alive.
"I felt a sudden jolt from the rear of the aircraft. At the same time the aircraft started to spin out of control," he said.

"I thought of dying right there, and then thought of my girlfriend and new baby daughter.
"I couldn't bear the prospect of leaving them alone and never seeing them again. I just did whatever I had to to get out."
Mr Dawson managed to rip open a jammed roller door which had shut tight on the nightmare ride down and jumped out at 180m.
"We were about halfway down when I started getting out and the G-forces had shut the roller door.
"I thought about riding it in, just for a split second but then I thought about my new baby daughter and my girlfriend.
"I saw them alone if I died and decided not to.
"If I was a second later getting out I would be dead.
"My feet hit the ground and I just couldn't believe it."
His emergency parachute opened just in time to get him clear of the fireball which erupted when the plane crashed.
Mr Dawson said he was being thrown around inside the plane as he tried to reach the door.
His helmet and one boot were ripped off as he was buffeted by debris and pieces of equipment being hurled around inside.
He was the first of the survivors to reach the ground.
"When I landed I was devastated to hear a parachutist had died," he said.
Paul Murray, of the Australian Parachute Federation, praised Mr Dawson's efforts.
"I think it's a very, very heroic task he's done to get out. It would have been a hard job to get out that door," Mr Murray said.
"The sport does have its risks, but the people doing the sport do understand that these risks are there and they accept those risks."
Two Australian Transport Safe ty Bureau investigators were on their way to the scene late last night. A coroner, police and the parachute federation were also investigating.
One experienced skydiver said last night that in normal circumstances the parachutist would have about 55 seconds of free-fall before opening the chute.
"It's very easy for the pins that hold the parachutes to be knocked while still in the plane," he said.
"It would then start to inflate too soon, be sucked out, be wrapped around the tail and there would be little you could do about it."
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association president Bill Hamilton said the pilot would have known almost instantly the plane was in trouble when the parachutist crashed into the tail.
"The weight of the body would upset the whole balance of the aircraft," Mr Hamilton said.
The death is the first parachuting death in Australia this year. Two divers died last year, while one was killed in 1999.
The parachute federation has more than 3000 registered jumpers.

By admin, in News,

Plunge skydiver on the mend

A NOVICE skydiver who fell 3,200ft after his parachute failed to open properly is back at home and expected to make a full recovery.
Craig Paton, 26, was being cared for by his family in Kilmarnock last night, less than three weeks after cheating death when he hit the ground at more than 40mph.
Mr Paton took the place of a friend at the last minute to make his first skydive jump from Strathallan airfield, near Auchterarder in Perthshire, on 8 April.
His descent took a quarter of the normal four minutes after his main parachute malfunctioned.
Mr Paton's fall was cushioned by landing on a grass embankment, missing a concrete road yards away that would have meant certain death.
He escaped without a single broken bone, and tried to walk to an ambulance after remaining conscious after hitting the ground.
Last night, Mr Paton's girlfriend, Diane Giels, 21, said she was delighted that he was back home after being discharged from Edinburgh Royal Infirmary on Monday.
She said: "He is getting there, and a full recovery is guaranteed. He is able to walk about, but has not talked about his experience."
Mr Paton was initially treated in intensive care for internal bleeding before being transferred to another ward in the hospital during his two-week stay.
His terrifying jump from a Cessna light aircraft had followed several hours of skydive training at the airfield.
He fell past two others in the group who had jumped before him after a static line that should have opened his parachute automatically failed to work.
Just a few hundred feet from the ground, he tried to open his back-up parachute, but it became entangled in the first parachute.
Mr Paton runs a newsagent and milk delivery business with his father, John, 52, in Kilmarnock. However, It is not known when he will be able to return to work.
His father said after the accident that it was a miracle he had survived.
He said: "Quite honestly, he shouldn't really be here. 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 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.
"After he landed, Craig was wanting to sit up and walk out of the field. He had to be restrained because he wanted to get up and walk over to the ambulance."
Mr Paton was taken to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee for emergency treatment before being transferred to Edinburgh.
His father added: "Craig does weights and runs a lot and the doctors said that is one of the factors which has saved him.
"He didn't smoke so his lungs are in great condition and he was always jogging or riding his mountain bike."
An investigation into the accident has been launched by the British Parachute Association.
Kieran Brady, owner of Skydive Strathallan, who piloted the plane involved, said the parachute that had malfunctioned had been used on numerous previous occasions and that such problems were very rare.

By admin, in News,

Forced retiree makes his point - 60 times

PALATKA — To celebrate his 60th birthday and his forced retirement as an airline pilot, Larry Elmore jumped out of an airplane 60 times in one day. He was forced to retire from Trans World Airlines at age 60 because of Federal Aviation Administration rules on commercial pilots.


So Tuesday, Elmore, of nearby Melrose in northeastern Florida, got together at Kay Larkin Airport with a support staff of parachute packers from Skydive Palatka and jumped 60 times to prove a point about his age.
Jeff Colley, drop zone manager at Skydive Palatka, said Elmore made his first jump about 6:45 a.m. Tuesday and finished up about 3 p.m.
Three planes and three pilots were used to ferry Elmore up for his jumps.
Elmore, who started skydiving in 1986, donned a parachute, hopped in a plane, and parachuted down. Upon landing, he would shed his used chute, put on another held waiting for him, hop in the plane and go up for another jump.
For the first 59 jumps, he exited the aircraft at 2,300 feet and opened his parachute immediately. On the final jump, Elmore skydived from 13,500 feet, Colley said.
Alison Duquette, an FAA spokeswoman, said at age 60 pilots begin a progressive decline that could affect levels of safety for commercial passengers.
Elmore has started a new job as a corporate pilot, Colley said.

By admin, in News,

Navy SEALs Injured In Parachute Jump

Two U.S. Navy parachutists were injured Tuesday when a training jump went awry, sending them crashing to the ground in a field near the U.S.-Mexico border. The SEAL team members' hard landings occurred shortly before 12:30 p.m. near Otay Mesa and Alta roads, east of Brown Field airport, a Heartland Fire Department dispatcher said.

The members of the Navy's elite Leap Frogs skydiving unit reportedly got tangled in each other's equipment while taking part in an exercise at the Trident Jump Center in Otay Mesa.
The parachutists were performing what is known as a corkscrew maneuver. They began the jump at 12,000 feet. As they parachuted toward earth the team members were connected to one another. The problem came when they were unable to disconnect.
After the landing, medics worked to stabilize the patients for about half-hour before loading them into ambulances.

The parachutists were transported to Sharp Memorial Hospital, the dispatcher said.
The two patients suffered abdomen bruises and back pains. They were both listed in stable condition and were expected to fully recover.
About The Leap Frogs
The U.S. Navy Parachute Team is a fifteen-man team comprised entirely of U.S. Navy SEALs -- Sea, Air, and Land commandos.
Each member comes to the team for a three-year tour from one of the two Naval Special Warfare Groups located on the east and west coasts.
On completion of the tour, members return to operational SEAL Teams.

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