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  1. Thank you for the replies, and apologies for my tardiness. wmw999 I still have strong memories of pulling the cutaway first. I can see why some training advises cutting away with both hands and then pulling reserve handle with both hands. I was taught to look and locate both and then cut away with right hand followed by pulling the reserve handle with the left. I remember after locating both I paused for at least a couple of seconds as I was concerned that I may have moved to emergency procedures too quickly as time gets distorted when in an emergency situation. I also remember thinking I hope the cutaway Velcro comes away easily and it did. DougH I think the main parachute was still in the container, I remained in belly to earth freefall during the emergency procedures and if the main parachute is not out I now assume the RSL won’t do its job. I never got a chance to look at the gear, so I don’t know what the reserve cable was like. The kink in the cable sounds a reliable positive indicator of a RSL-initiated reserve deployment but can have false negatives. I think it was a pilot chute in tow and realize there are multiple possible reasons, such the chute being stuck in my burble…..sometimes I think I may have “Lazy Throw” put on my tombstone, as a summary of my lifeJ. I have also been advised that a too-tight closing loupe could have made the pin difficult to extract, or the bridle may have wrapped around the pilot chute and prevented it from inflating. I am pretty sure the pilot chute was cocked, as it is checked about four times before the jump. The packer, myself, a jumper on the ground and a more experienced skydiver in the plane. I wish I had waited longer before going to emergency procedures as I deployed at 5000-5500 feet so had plenty of time to ‘relax’ before moving to emergency procedures. Being spun on my back, seeing lines unravel from my foot and seeing a fouled reserve open above my head were almost simultaneous, so there is a good likelihood they did come out together. I did talk to a club coach, but he only talked about the poor throw and burble, which I thought was a little unfair. As the gear was hired and packed, I feel that there can be a lack of openness about the many possibilities due to legal considerations, although laying blame is not my intention. The safety officer for the Australian Parachute Association was more forthcoming with possibilities. Regarding the trauma, I started back work a few weeks ago, and although I will be left with residual issues, the experience has been amazing. Seeing possible death, a short period of experiencing pain that makes death nothing to fear and a blessing, the humility of needing your arse wiped and the pleasure of short-term gains in recovery. Finally, the relationships with hospital staff and patients were inspiring, of the latter, some were facing hardships much worse than mine, and they weren’t indulging in risky sports. Riggerrob Thanks, I now know the RSL is very fast and beats the handles if they are pulled in the correct order. I also think the main was still in the container, so the reserve handle activation was necessary. kleggo That article was fascinating. I think I did sink to the level of my training as I had no idea what to do with my malfunction. Once I had tried to flare a few times, I did not think to use riser inputs to try and correct the spin. The safety officer who saw a video of the descent advised me I would have probably stalled the canopy, so maybe ignorance was bliss. As Pchapman had intimated earlier, an interaction between the main and reserve may have occurred. Reading the tension knot article, it seems that this may have caused asymmetric canopy expansion/inflation and line disorganization. A theory of twisted break lines as a culprit appears to not be substantiated by the research. RolandForbes J I could have easily died, but there is much worse than death. I don’t think my marriage would have survived paraplegia, and although I give full credit to those who can, I don’t think I would have hung around with quadriplegia. Interestingly, the suicide rates for quadriplegia plummet compared to paraplegia, there are obvious reasons why. I had a few cracks in the cervical vertebrae and have 2 numb fingertips to remind me how bad it could have been. I appreciate all the responses and just want to lastly talk about what I did do under canopy and get opinions if you are not sick of me by now. My spiralling descent rate was fast, and my novice mind only thought to pull down with weight on the back risers to try and reduce the descent rate. I think it worked, but put me in a flatter spin, so I hit the ground side on. There were no compression injuries; the minor neck damage was an extension injury. I was hoping for an opinion on this and whether I made any difference. A very experienced skydiver named Boags was under canopy and filmed my descent. He landed off the dropzone and got to me within 23 seconds of hitting the ground. I have enclosed his video for any opinions. Julian.MP4
  2. Thanks yarpos, wing loading was low, I was using a 260 student rig and my weight was about 83kg. The reserve was same or similar size I think. From your last statement, I understand there is inherent risk in this sport even if we follow protocol, a randomness and complexity to nature that can never be fully accounted for even if we follow good procedure and protocol. At the same time when an incident like this is examined there are always areas where one thinks it could have been done differently. An example is that I read today that sometimes pulling on the reserve handle can sometimes be faster than the RSL and increase the chance of a reserve main interaction. Is that true?, what is the average time of the automatic reserve deployment from a cutaway and RSL. RSL's are manditory here for less experienced skydivers but this is one time I wish I did not have one and had waiedt for stability before pulling my reserve handle. I also understand far too many skydivers in the past have died with there reserves still in their rig.
  3. Thank you for the replies. gowlerk; I was using hired gear and would have been having a helicopter ride to the city hospital but I have been informed that the primary parachute was a tangled mess when retrieved and therefore nothing could be learnt from its state. There was no comment about the pilot chute so I assume it looked normal. The reserve parachute had been moved to create shade during my treatment from emergency services so this disrupted its state but I have a photograph from the air before it was disturbed, I have included it. The parachutes were sent to the manufacturers for examination and came back clear and lines looked undamaged but here were line marks on the one leg of my jump suit. Pchapman; it was a crash landing, 30 broken bones all up but fortunately central nervous system intact other than tingling tips of little and ring finger corresponding to cervical vertebrae. (A little reminder of how bad it may have been :). Hopefully the photograph will be useful, not thought of a riser of the main fouling the reserve and choking it off. Ufk22; main had been deployed and not in bag but a tangled mess when retrieved. I think we do tend to constantly ruminate over the event, partly to make the sport safer and partly to relive ourselves of recrimination.
  4. Order of events from memory. Stable flat belly-to-earth deployment at around 5000-5500 feet. Remained this way for at least six seconds including a right head turn. Nothing felt so went to emergency procedures, cutaway, and reserve deployment. Was spun in the air onto my back and was looking up at the leg and watching lines of a parachute unravel from around a leg/foot. The next moment a reserve parachute opened above my head in a very hard spin and the riser up, could not be corrected with toggles. Initially assumed this was the reserve parachute catching my leg but logically more likely was the primary chute. Memory is fallible. Very hard landing. Would the tension knots have been caused by unstable deployment when I was turned onto my back? Only about 63 jumps and the first cutaway. Respectful honest feedback is appreciated.