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skydude2000

Incidents reporting

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Hi gang,

I've been keeping an eye on the 'incidents' thread recently, and it got me wondering. A good number of them seem to linked from news media stories/outlets and not first-hand accounts. Considering that we know many, if not most media reports on skydiving incidents can be inaccurate, or incomplete at best, why do these seem to be the primary source for reporting incidents here?

I understand that DZOs & S & TAs are busy people, and have enough to do, especially when there is an incident or fatality, but since the primary purpose of that forum here is to learn, and to avoid making those mistakes in the future, should we really be using the whuffo media as our primary source?

Maybe there isn't a better way, I'm just wondering :)
Blue ones. Fly safe!!
PULL!! or DIE!!

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>should we really be using the whuffo media as our primary source?

Good question. In an ideal world, no, we'd use firsthand and reliable secondhand information only. But often those people do not post on DZ.com. (There's certainly no obligation to do so.) In such cases we think that a little information is better than none, and often that first post from the media results in a follow-on post saying "well I was there and I saw . . . "

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>should we really be using the whuffo media as our primary source?

Good question. In an ideal world, no, we'd use firsthand and reliable secondhand information only. But often those people do not post on DZ.com. (There's certainly no obligation to do so.) In such cases we think that a little information is better than none, and often that first post from the media results in a follow-on post saying "well I was there and I saw . . . "



Ya know... I don't know if I've just been being dense about the whole "Incident Form" thing, but for the first time... this explanation is THE ONE that makes the most sense of all our discussions about incidents and... well, I can't tell you why the light bulb didn't go off sooner. But, I get it now. Thanks.
Nobody has time to listen; because they're desperately chasing the need of being heard.

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Thanks Bill,

I appreciate the reply. That makes sense. It just seems like if that forum is used to learn, and all we get from many of the media reports is 'The victim's parachute failed to open, became entangled, etc.' that doesn't give the rest of us much insight into what CAUSED the incident.

Whereas a finding from a DZO/Rigger/S & TA who was on scene to examine the gear and/or witnessed the incident, would be more helpful in describing accurate details & preventing similar incidents. But like you said, no one is obligated to do that.
PULL!! or DIE!!

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It just seems like if that forum is used to learn, and all we get from many of the media reports is 'The victim's parachute failed to open, became entangled, etc.' that doesn't give the rest of us much insight into what CAUSED the incident.

Whereas a finding from a DZO/Rigger/S & TA who was on scene to examine the gear and/or witnessed the incident, would be more helpful in describing accurate details & preventing similar incidents. But like you said, no one is obligated to do that.



The news reports are immediate, but have no useful information about cause. The report that includes that info from knowledgeable authorities takes weeks to put together, from gear inspections, multiple witness interviews, etc.. And people here are too impatient to wait for that. Thus, they start with what they have - a news report.

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In the past I've sat on reports for weeks that I have been sent via second or even first hand accounts via private message since people did not want their name associated with the bad press or did not want to put out the info due to the DZ management asking not to publish it. Usually once I find a media report and start a thread all sorts of info comes out but there is a stigma associated to having a fatality or serious injury that most in the sport want to cover up since they feel that talking "bad" about their friend that is dead or injured is wrong. It does suck to have everyone online reading about the mistakes and errors that friends, family or even you made yourself, I've been there multiple times and I'm sure I'll be there again.
Yesterday is history
And tomorrow is a mystery

Parachutemanuals.com

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Usually once I find a media report and start a thread all sorts of info comes out but there is a stigma associated to having a fatality or serious injury that most in the sport want to cover up since they feel that talking "bad" about their friend that is dead or injured is wrong.



And the reason that people don't submit reports is because the "talking bad" occurs even when it's not justified. Since that activity is allowed here, that's what makes people reticent to post anything, because they know what the inevitable responses will be. If the forum was operated with higher ethical standards where speculation and unjustified bashing was squelched, then more people would be willing to come forward. And that's why it is the way it is.

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That's kind of what I was thinking. Incidents happen, that's life, but I'm of the mind that sweeping them under the rug to protect the DZ, or the parties involved, does nothing to help make the sport safer.

I have a lot more respect for people who can admit their mistakes, think about them objectively, ask for constructive feedback about how to prevent future incidents, and move forward. But that's just me.

I have no problem admitting to my mistakes, here, or in person at my DZ. Particularly if it keeps someone else from repeating the same stupid mistake. But to deliberately hide incidents to protect the dropzone, or the people involved in incidents, seems dangerous, and stupid to me.
PULL!! or DIE!!

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And the reason that people don't submit reports is because the "talking bad" occurs even when it's not justified. Since that activity is allowed here, that's what makes people reticent to post anything, because they know what the inevitable responses will be. If the forum was operated with higher ethical standards where speculation and unjustified bashing was squelched, then more people would be willing to come forward.



A large part of the problem with the people who have the information posting, they're reticent to speak publicly due to potential law suits.

My experience has been that as soon as real information is posted, it stops all the conjecture. Relative to the resent incident at my DZ, I posted verbatim what I sent to USPA. After that post, there were one or two "thanks for the info" posts, but otherwise the string stopped.
Experience is what you get when you thought you were going to get something else.

AC DZ

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John USPA offers to collect the stats for injuries and they do not publish the results in any way except in a table showing injuries and yet most DZ's choose not to even supply that information. I know you have issues with most the moderation on this site but if DZ's are not even willing to send in injury reports to the national organization that does not even publish the slightest detail it means most will not come forward no matter how the moderation is handled on this site.

There are multiple DZ's out that openly state on their website or marketing info that they have a perfect safety record or "no injuries". Having their DZ name just appearing in a Google search in being associated with an injury is enough in their mind that they might lose tandem business. I have had in the past a DZ manager ask me to change some details in the posts to change the city name in the title so the searches would not appear if you searched for Skydive XXXXXX location. DZ's are that afraid of having incident posts appearing in their Google search results resulting in lost business and no level of moderation will change that.
Yesterday is history
And tomorrow is a mystery

Parachutemanuals.com

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I'm of the mind that sweeping them under the rug to protect the DZ, or the parties involved, does nothing to help make the sport safer.



And that's another aspect of the culture here. Because of the speculation and bashing which makes people reticent to post, thenceforth comes the cries of cover-up conspiracies. Also not helpful. I think there are actually very few intentional cover-ups. Mostly, it's just folks who don't want to put their friends through the unpleasant stuff that goes on here. Just because there's silence, doesn't mean there's a cover-up.

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USPA offers to collect the stats for injuries and they do not publish the results in any way except in a table showing injuries and yet most DZ's choose not to even supply that information.



Can USPA be trusted with that information? Was there not a case in the past in which information from a "confidential" fatality report made it's way to a plaintiff's attorney?

Posting details of an incident in these forums is just asking for an invitation from an attorney to discuss things further. Perhaps in a courtroom...

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There are multiple DZ's out that openly state on their website or marketing info that they have a perfect safety record or "no injuries". Having their DZ name just appearing in a Google search in being associated with an injury is enough in their mind that they might lose tandem business. I have had in the past a DZ manager ask me to change some details in the posts to change the city name in the title so the searches would not appear if you searched for Skydive XXXXXX location. DZ's are that afraid of having incident posts appearing in their Google search results resulting in lost business and no level of moderation will change that.



So, it's ethical to distort the truth to the general public in order to gain their business? Lie or cover-up reality to present the image that skydiving is injury-free?

Slippery slope, people. You're only building perceptions that cause more repercussions when the inevitable happens. That's the unavoidable situation when you 'Disney-ride' skydiving.

Man up and ask the direct question of ALL students, AFF or tandem: "Do you realize that people die while participating in this sport? Understanding this, do you wish to go forward?" Put their responses on video and be willing to play it in court.
Every fight is a food fight if you're a cannibal

Goodness is something to be chosen. When a man cannot choose, he ceases to be a man. - Anthony Burgess

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John USPA offers to collect the stats for injuries and they do not publish the results in any way except in a table showing injuries and yet most DZ's choose not to even supply that information. I know you have issues with most the moderation on this site but if DZ's are not even willing to send in injury reports to the national organization that does not even publish the slightest detail it means most will not come forward no matter how the moderation is handled on this site.

There are multiple DZ's out that openly state on their website or marketing info that they have a perfect safety record or "no injuries". Having their DZ name just appearing in a Google search in being associated with an injury is enough in their mind that they might lose tandem business. I have had in the past a DZ manager ask me to change some details in the posts to change the city name in the title so the searches would not appear if you searched for Skydive XXXXXX location. DZ's are that afraid of having incident posts appearing in their Google search results resulting in lost business and no level of moderation will change that.



Hmmmm. You seem to have a defective memory. My understanding was that a member of the board of USPA sent a copy of an incident report (that was supposed to have been destroyed after the relevant details were entered into a database) to someone's lawyer, resulting in an action against that dropzone.

Until the boards of associations are no longer made up of competing factions, incidents are best covered up as far as most dzo's (and probably the associations themselves) are concerned.
If some old guy can do it then obviously it can't be very extreme. Otherwise he'd already be dead.
Bruce McConkey 'I thought we were gonna die, and I couldn't think of anyone

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I am new to the sport and mostly a "List Lurker". I do read through the Safety & Training and the Incidents forums to see what I can learn and hopefully not become a statistic.

I also a pilot, and I read through the NTSB reports from time to time and unfortunately there is not an equivalent data base in the Skydiving community. The NSTB has the advantage that its findings cannot be used in litigation and I can't imagine that the USPA or any other group would create a database unless they had similar protections.

It's a pity really because if there was then the sport would have facts and actual data around all accidents and would have the opportunity to design safety and training programs that target the actual problem areas rather than "best guesses". We have an expression where I work... "In god we trust, everyone else bring data".

At my DZ I have seen one fractured spine (still learning to walk), a permanent brain injury, a fractured hip, two spine fractures and a general assortment of ankles, knees & other stuff. Despite this I have not seen any of these incidents reported, so no one gets the opportunity to learn from them.

I recently changed my profile to be anonymous so I my DZ could not be identified from my profile. I did this because I figured if the people involved were not going to make there accident public then it wasn't my place to do so, however there may come a time where I would like to open a discussion on an incident I have seen.

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It's a pity really because if there was then the sport would have facts and actual data around all accidents and would have the opportunity to design safety and training programs that target the actual problem areas rather than "best guesses". We have an expression where I work... "In god we trust, everyone else bring data".



It's really not a lack of data as very few incidents occur that are "new." The issue tends to be more in differences of opinion on response.

It pretty much boils down to one or more of the following:
* Mandate
* Ban
* Educate
* Do Nothing
Stupidity if left untreated is self-correcting
If ya can't be good, look good, if that fails, make 'em laugh.

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>Because of the speculation and bashing which makes people reticent to
>post, thenceforth comes the cries of cover-up conspiracies.

And when speculation or analytical posts are deleted, the cries of "censorship! coverup!" begin. There's no right answer - so we tend to err on the side of allowing people more freedom to post. We are better served by too much information (even if some of it seems worthless) than too little.

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>Because of the speculation and bashing which makes people reticent to
>post, thenceforth comes the cries of cover-up conspiracies.

And when speculation or analytical posts are deleted, the cries of "censorship! coverup!" begin. There's no right answer - so we tend to err on the side of allowing people more freedom to post. We are better served by too much information (even if some of it seems worthless) than too little.





Perhaps you are better served by speculation and analytical posts about accidents that occur with similar root causes than many more before them.

Who is not better served is the deceased, their family and their friends and the businesses who may JUST lose big if speculation and analytical posts become conjecture and are taken to be true because they can not be proved false.

When I skydived (have been out for 5 years now), I lurked the forums incessantly, including the incidents. I was an information whore. I just wanted to know everything about everything. I go on every few months now and just check things out just for nostalgia sake and to keep up with what is going on. I really have no invested interest as a skydiver anymore though.

In the 5 years that I spent all over these forums when I was skydiving, I could count on one hand the number of posts in the incidents forum that I learned something new from. Most of them had to do with meteorology and general aviation.

The general skydiving section and the safety and training section have a WAY better record of actually doing good for furthering the knowledge of gear, aviation, and general safety stuff for people.

The incidents forum is really just the train wreck on the side of the highway that you can't look away from. It has probably done more emotional harm to people than it has done good. (Counting that the information discussed in most of the posts is redundant to what has already been learned and is discussed in less intrusive and less morbid forums).

Feel free to go back and dig up some post of mine from way back that speaks to the contrary, I know how we roll here. I have changed a lot in the 5yrs since I was a really active poster. The balloon incident thread is a prime example about how these things can do more harm for the family and friends than good to the "dz.com" community. I'm actually surprised there isn't a bunch of bullshit banter going on in the incidents forum about the tandem chick that fell off the hanglider in BC the other day. Wait for it.... it's coming.

Don't get me wrong, the information learned from incidents is important. But to think that dz.com incidents forum is the be all end all place to learn from others mistakes is a bit megalomaniac no? Only a very small percentage of jumpers I knew actually read or gave two shits about this site. Yet they learned somehow.

--------------------------------------------------
In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. ~ Thomas Jefferson

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>Who is not better served is the deceased, their family and their friends
>and the businesses who may JUST lose big if speculation and analytical
>posts become conjecture and are taken to be true because they can not
>be proved false.

Not to be blunt, but any deceased skydiver will not lose any bigger through speculation. The forum is intended to help prevent other people from making the same mistake they did. And we try our best to direct friends and family to the "blue skies" forum rather than the Incidents forum. From the sticky at the top of the forum:

================
This forum is intended for the reporting and discussion of serious incidents. Skydiving is still a relatively small community, and you may someday see an incident here that involves someone you knew. Do NOT read this forum, or read threads about their injury or death, if reading such a discussion will upset you.

Often, when a skydiver dies, there is a desire on the part of his friends to "not speak ill of the dead" - to not suggest or imply that his death was due to a mistake he made. However, 99% of the serious injuries and fatalities in this sport are due to mistakes, and one reason the sport is gradually getting safer is that people learn from other's mistakes _before_ they make them themselves. This forum is intended for just that sort of learning. Consequently, you will often see discussions along the lines of "if he had only done X, he would have been able to pull it out." This can be upsetting to someone who knew the injured/deceased jumper; it may seem as if the poster is saying "it's his fault he's dead!"

But the objective here is not to assign blame or determine if "he deserved it." It is to analyze the accident to see what caused it, what might have prevented it, what others can do to prevent similar accidents. Sometimes all the facts are known, especially if the original poster was the person injured. More often only some of the facts are known, and people must make educated guesses as to the rest of the details (i.e. why they turned at 100 feet, why they did not open their reserve before impact.) These guesses, although sometimes inaccurate, are an important part of the discussion.

It's always upsetting to lose someone you know, and it can help to have a place to discuss how well you knew him, what a great person he was etc. These discussions take place in the Blue Skies, Bonfire or General forums, and those forums usually do not contain the kind of second-guessing and analysis you will see here in Incidents. If you have lost a friend, and you want to talk about it but don't want to see discussions about what he might have done differently, start (or join) a thread in one of those forums.
==============================

>The balloon incident thread is a prime example about how these things
>can do more harm for the family and friends than good to the "dz.com"
>community.

Interesting example. I think that's one of the more important threads here in a while, because there were several people on that thread who believed that there was no significant danger before takeoff because they couldn't see any thunderstorms. If even one of those people learns that just "not seeing a storm" does not make them safe from thunderstorms, that's overall a good thing.

>But to think that dz.com incidents forum is the be all end all place to
>learn from others mistakes is a bit megalomaniac no?

?? It's not. It's not even the best place. It's just one place.

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I could count on one hand the number of posts in the incidents forum that I learned something new from

While I'm not sure I've learned a HUGE number of new things, I've put a whole lot of stuff I already knew into different perspectives by reading the fora. That's also valuable.

Wendy P.
There is nothing more dangerous than breaking a basic safety rule and getting away with it. It removes fear of the consequences and builds false confidence. (tbrown)

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So, it's ethical to distort the truth to the general public in order to gain their business? Lie or cover-up reality to present the image that skydiving is injury-free?

Slippery slope, people. You're only building perceptions that cause more repercussions when the inevitable happens. That's the unavoidable situation when you 'Disney-ride' skydiving.

Man up and ask the direct question of ALL students, AFF or tandem: "Do you realize that people die while participating in this sport? Understanding this, do you wish to go forward?" Put their responses on video and be willing to play it in court.


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It was always a part of my 1st jump course to state that though statically unlikely, there is a definite possibility of serious injury or death resulting from participation in the sport of Skydiving.

That as with any 'extreme' activity one should ask themselves the question - is everything I have & I've ever wanted to do in life 'worth' the risk I'm about to take...

I'd go on to explain that it wasn't a carnival ride and that it isn't my 'job' to take care of them through this adventure, but instead see that they were prepared to take care of themselves.

I had a DZO ask me to leave that part out of my class once, I told him I could not do that in good conscious... that I'd never had a student back out and ask for a refund, but that it seemed to get their attention and prompted much more interaction with the students.











~ If you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn? ~

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So, it's ethical to distort the truth to the general public in order to gain their business? Lie or cover-up reality to present the image that skydiving is injury-free?



This is just a guess, but I don't think the DZ Pree was talking about was the same DZ where the incident took place.

For example, an incident at Chicagoland Skydiving Center could be reported as a skydiving incident in Chicago. At the same time, Skydive Chicago would probably be linked to that incident in a search based on the word 'Chicago' being present in the title of the incident thread. In that case, it would be bad press for Skydive Chicago for no good reason.

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