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Found 174 results

  1. Army officials are investigating why a jumpmaster's reserve parachute activated inside an airplane Tuesday night causing him to be sucked out of the aircraft.Sgt. Yusefiman Wright was released from FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital in Pinehurst on Friday, a spokesman said. Wright was being treated for fractured ribs and a cut on the chin, U.S. Army Special Operations Command officials said. The 28-year-old soldier from New Bern is assigned to the 528th Special Operations Support Battalion. "He is doing real well," said Barbara Ashley, a USASOC spokeswoman. "He said he has received a lot of support from his family and his friends in the unit and the Special Operations Support Command." The accident happened about 8 p.m. aboard a C-130 Hercules cargo plane flying over Moore County, officials said. "He was ejected from the aircraft due to the activation of his reserve parachute inside the aircraft during an airborne operation," said Sgt. 1st Class Pamela Smith, a spokesman for U.S. Army Special Operations command. Wright's main parachute opened during his fall, officials said. The battalion is reviewing safety procedures in airborne operations and the proper handling of reserve parachutes in aircraft, Smith said. "Being a jumpmaster is dangerous," Smith said. "The command regrets that this type of accident happened." Wright is declining interviews, Smith said.
  2. admin

    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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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."
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. An Ohio man BASE jumping from West Virginia's New River Gorge Bridge early Saturday morning missed his landing spot and got tangled in some trees before releasing himself from his harness and falling some 40 feet. According to a report today by the National Park Service, 33-year-old Shannon Murphy, of Wadsworth, launched into the darkness at 1:40 A.M. The sky was overcast and the gorge was full of fog, making it nearly impossible for him to see his landing zone. After friends John Maggio, 37, and Andrew Pulton, 20, placed a 911 call, rescuers including a team of rangers, county police, fire and EMS personnel got to Murphy, who was semi-conscious and suffering from a severe head injury and a fractured arm, 45 minutes later. He was stabilized and taken to a local hospital before being transferred to a trauma center in Charleston, West Virginia. The NPS report stated that alcohol may have been a contributing factor in the accident. Murphy will be charged with illegal aerial moves; Maggio has been charged with aiding and abetting. An investigation is underway. Four men caught BASE jumping off the Virginia's New River Gorge Bridge in December were fined $600 a piece after pleading guilty to aerial delivery in a magistrate's court. Tourists visiting the Fayette Station area of the New River Gorge National River snapped photos of two of the four jumpers in mid-air and dialed 911 as the group was still free falling towards the gorge floor. Rangers and several law enforcement agents were dispatched to the scene and, aided by vehicle-descriptions given by the tourists in a second 911 call , - apprehended the men. BASE jumping from the New River Gorge Bridge is illegal except for one day of the year, when the annual Bridge Day is held. The 2001 Bridge Day is scheduled for October 20.
  9. DELAND, Fla. (CP-AP) - An experienced Canadian skydiver died after making a tricky high-speed turn too close to the ground, crashing into the pavement at a popular Florida skydiving centre. Stephane Drapeau, 30, from Beloeil, Que., was making a routine jump until he made the high-speed turn at an extremely low altitude as he approached the landing area at Skydive DeLand near the municipal airport. Drapeau had about 4,700 jumps before Friday's accident. DeLand Police Lieut. John Bradley said Drapeau slammed into a strip of pavement at a high speed causing massive injuries. ''He was wearing a helmet, but at times they can go as fast as 80 mph (130 km/h) when they make that turn,'' Bradley told the Canadian Press. ''His chute deployed properly ... His canopy probably collapsed or when he made the turn he was so close he just impaled the ground.'' Though the case is being treated as an accident, it has been turned over to the Federal Aviation Administration, Bradley added. If performed correctly, the manoeuvre brings skydivers in at a high rate of speed but allows for a horizontal glide about one metre off the ground, usually resulting in a soft landing, said Skydive DeLand General Manager Mike Johnston. ''He misjudged his landing,'' he said, also noting that Drapeau appeared to have made the manoeuvre too close to the ground. A pair of paramedics joined a skydiving doctor in treating Drapeau at the scene. He was flown by helicopter to Halifax Medical Center in nearby Daytona Beach, where he later died, police said. Just an hour-and-a-half before the fatal fall, a 42-year-old sky diver from Holland suffered a broken ankle after making a hard landing at Skydive DeLand, the Daytona Beach News Journal reported Saturday. Johnston said Drapeau was a frequent visitor to the popular DeLand skydiving spot, making the trip from Canada almost every winter. Although he didn't teach there, he was accredited to do so and worked for a parachute centre in Quebec, the Journal reported. Drapeau became the second person to die at Skydive DeLand in four months. Chantal Bonitto, a 31-year-old New Yorker, died Dec. 27 when her parachute failed. In April 1999, Beatrice Vanderpol, a 55-year-old French woman, also fell to her death because her parachute failed. A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs in Ottawa said Canadian officials are looking into the accident. ''We're in contact with our consulate in Miami and we are trying to find out more,'' Patrick Riel said. Drapeau's family has been notified and are being offered consular assistance, he said.
  10. TAIPING: A police parachutist suffered a bad fall from a 1,500m jump after his parachute strings became entangled mid way before the landing. Safaruddin Mohd Ariffin, 36, who suffered head and neck injuries, was rushed to the Taiping Hospital in the 10.45am incident at the old airport in Tekah here yesterday. A member of Special Task Force formerly known as Vat 69--an elite police commando unit based in Ulu Kinta near Ipoh--Safaruddin was among 25 members in a parachuting test at the old airport over the last three days. Safaruddin was transferred to the Ipoh Hospital where his condition is reported to be stable. The father of three children from Teluk Intan had made 18 jumps in the past. It is learnt he had safely jumped out of a light aircraft at a height of about 1,500m but his parachute strings became entangled mid way before he landed. Seven others who jumped with him landed safely.
  11. 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 linesFrom: 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 tanglesBy 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 cameraThe 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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".
  14. 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.
  15. 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."
  16. 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.
  17. A Jackson County judge on Thursday approved a $27.5 million settlement for families of the pilot and five sky divers killed in a Grain Valley plane crash. Engine manufacturer Teledyne Continental Motors of Mobile, Ala., is to divide the money equally among the six families. The company admitted no fault in the settlement. Circuit Judge J.D. Williamson approved the settlement after hearing from members of four families. Lawyers said it will become final soon after members of the other two families testify. The checks are to be paid by May 11. Lawyers said the $27.5 million was among the nation's largest pretrial settlements in the crash of a small plane. Plaintiff attorney Gary C. Robb said a separate contractual agreement with the company, involving engine overhaul manuals, was more important to his clients than the money. Teledyne pledged to revise the manuals. "From the beginning our clients wanted to remedy the engine problem," Robb said. "They have succeeded." The company denies any engine problem. Robb, who represented the four families at the Thursday hearing, said the March 21, 1998, crash happened because badly designed oil transfer tubes failed and starved the engine of oil. Smoke and flames billowed from the Cessna engine as the pilot tried to land at Grain Valley Airport. The plane clipped a tree, cart-wheeled to the ground and burst into flames. All aboard died. Robb said his review of the company records found 14 other cases of engine failure caused by such oil tube failures. The records only go back to the mid-1980s, though the company made engines with the faulty tubes from 1945 to 1995, Robb said. The engines went into small planes made by many different companies, Robb said. "Who knows how many other engine failures and deaths resulted because of this," Robb said after the hearing. Robert W. Cotter, attorney for the company, disagreed with Robb. He said the oil tubes did not cause engine failures. He admitted no liability. Separate from the legal settlement, the four families received letters from Cotter Thursday. In them, the company pledged to change its printed and Web site overhaul manuals to tell mechanics and owners to inspect the oil transfer tubes. Cotter said he would not comment on letters that were separate from the settlement. Robb said the pledge is part of a legally binding contract. Members of the four families said they never would have agreed to the settlement without the letters. Judi Rudder of Oskaloosa, Kan., widow of sky diver Marion Rudder, said the families quickly agreed on two things - a required warning and an even split of any settlement. "Our whole mission on this was to keep people safe," she said. "We knew together we could make a bigger difference, and we wanted to be fair." Brad Buckley of Independence, the son of sky diver Kenney Buckley, said he lost a father and did not want others to lose loved ones. Other members of the Greater Kansas City Skydiving Club who died were Eric Rueff, John Schuman and Julie Douglass. The pilot, David Snyder, also died in the crash. The Snyder and Douglass families are to appear at later hearings to finalize the settlement. Belinda Schuman of Lawrence, widow of John Schuman, said the families want to make it clear that a plane crash - not a skydiving accident - killed their loved ones. Her husband loved skydiving and had made 2,300 jumps, she said. "We got married on the anniversary day of his first jump; he said he'd always remember that date." Another defendant, Jewell Aircraft Inc. of Holly Springs, Miss., settled the case previously for $1 million, which also was equally divided among the six families. The company, which admitted no wrongdoing, did an engine overhaul on the Cessna 10 years ago. Robb said he probably would drop the case against several other defendants that include Whuffo III, the owner of the plane; Freeflight Aviation Inc., an aircraft maintenance company; and White Industries, a company that sold the engine. His investigation, Robb said, also answered the key question of why the sky divers did not jump out of the plane. When the pilot first radioed at 3,000 feet that he heard an engine noise, he called off the jump and started to land, Robb said, but by the time the engine burst into flames it was too low for anyone to jump. Judi Rudder said the question of why no one jumped had troubled her. "They just didn't know it was going to be that bad," she said. "They thought they could get down safely."
  18. DELAND -- A skydiver plummeted to her death Wednesday evening near U.S. 92, and investigators worked well into the night trying to determine exactly what happened during the final moments of her fall. Chantal Bonitto, 31, of New York City, was pronounced dead at the scene, an EVAC spokesman said. Her body was discovered shortly after 5:30 p.m. in a wooded area along U.S. 92, directly behind the Flo Met office building at 810 Flight Line Blvd. Bonitto was vacationing in the area and was taking part in jumps offered by Skydive DeLand, according to the DeLand Police Department. She was no stranger to skydiving, having completed at least 100 jumps, said DeLand Police Lt. Paul Proctor. "It's still too early to tell what happened," Proctor said Wednesday night. "At 100 jumps, it would seem to be they know what they're doing to a certain degree." Proctor said people who witnessed Bonitto's fall offered conflicting stories as to whether the woman's parachute opened. "That's where some of the stories differ," he said. Some eyewitnesses reported they did not see a parachute open. Others, Proctor said, reported seeing Bonitto perform a "cut-away," detaching herself from the primary parachute in an effort to deploy a back-up canopy. Proctor said local investigators, along with the Federal Aviation Administration, will investigate the incident. He said more witnesses would be interviewed, including the pilot of the plane from which Bonitto jumped. Bonitto was married, and her husband was at the scene Wednesday night. His name was not immediately available. Proctor said he did not know if Bonitto's husband was a skydiver. Skydiving injuries and fatal accidents occur sporadically in DeLand, Proctor said, due in part to the sheer volume of participants. Skydive DeLand officials have previously said they average nearly 85,000 jumps per year. "There are just a huge number of skydivers in the area," Proctor said. Two skydivers were reported injured in April, one of them critically. In April 1999, a French skydiver died after her parachute malfunctioned and failed to open properly. The 55-year-old woman was an experienced skydiver with more than 500 jumps. 2000 News-Journal Corp.
  19. Nicole Cadiz wanted one more sky dive before the day's end, but she never expected it to be her last. The 26-year-old woman died Saturday evening after winds ripped off her harness during a 13,500-foot free fall at the Parachute Center in Acampo, just north of Lodi, according to the San Joaquin County Coroner's Office. Cadiz, an experienced parachutist with more than 1,000 jumps under her belt, had executed eight leaps earlier in the day. Then, on her ninth just before 7:40 p.m., high-velocity winds snatched her harness and chute off her back. Parachute Center owner Bill Dause said Cadiz then attempted, but failed, to get back into her harness, and she plummeted to the ground. Paramedics found her in a neighboring vineyard. Her new husband, Anthony, was one of seven others making the jump with Cadiz. Dause attributed the accident to an unclipped chest strap -- which he could not explain -- and Cadiz's upside-down position in midair. "Skydiving is a high-risk act, but with the equipment we have, it's got to be a combination of things that go wrong for that to happen," he said. "It wasn't just that the chest strap was undone, but also her position in the air." The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration investigates parachuting accidents, but representatives from the agencies could not be reached Sunday. Cadiz, an Acampo resident, worked as a manicurist in Lodi, though friends said her real passion was sky diving every weekend at the Parachute Center, where she first learned the sport seven years ago and became adept enough to work as a sky videographer. "She loved sky diving, she was always here," said a 21-year-old friend who was one of seven others with Cadiz on her fatal jump. "She was well-liked by everyone here. Her whole life was this drop zone." "It's just devastating, we're all devastated by this," added Jan Davis, who was editing a parachuting videotape on Sunday. The last parachuting death in the Sacramento region occurred at the Parachute Center last October when a 23-year-old Orangevale man committed suicide, said coroner's Deputy Al Ortiz. Nationwide, 32 of the 3.25 million parachute jumps made in 1997 resulted in fatalities, according to the U.S. Parachute Association, an Alexandria, Va.-based group that sets safety and training guidelines for the sport. Some at the Parachute Center were visibly shaken Sunday, but they still moved about the hangarlike building, packing their parachutes and watching others descend from the sky. Dause said parachutists understand their sport's inherent dangers and know that tragedies like Cadiz's can happen. Still, their love of the sport compels them to continue. "Everybody's sad," he said between flights. "But we've just got to bite our tongues and keep going." To see more of the Sacramento Bee, or to subscribe, go to http://www.sacbee.com © 2000 Sacramento Bee.
  20. Man dies, another injured after collision DAYTON TOWNSHIP -- The death of a Missoula, Mont., skydiver and the serious injury of another Sunday ended Skydive Chicago's attempt to break the world record for the number of skydivers in a free-fall formation. Paul L. Adams, 54, died during a mid-air collision with Kenneth Reed, 22, of Holts Summit, Mo., during an 10:30 a.m. jump, the 22nd jump record attempt. Reed was taken to Community Hospital of Ottawa, and was later airlifted to OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria, where he remains in critical condition this morning. Sunday was the last day for the skydivers to break the record -- they had been attempting since Aug. 13, and had scheduled 24 jumps. The accident is being investigated by the La Salle County Sheriff's Department and the La Salle County Coroner's Office. "Unfortunately, on this jump, people from two different waves somehow crossed," said Roger Nelson, Skydive Chicago program director and jump participant. "We've had no problem on the other jumps." The decision was made after the accident to stop the world record attempt. The skydivers began to open their parachutes at about 7,500 feet, according to Nelson. Chutes are opened in "waves," meaning skydivers from the outer, middle, and inner rings of the flower-shaped formation open at different times and altitudes to avoid collisions. Adams opened his parachute first, and immediately struck Reed, Nelson said. Reed's parachute opened, and their passengers floated to the ground. Both divers were equipped with devices to automatically open the parachutes at a preset altitude. Adams was reported missing shortly after the jump. Each skydiver is required to check in immediately with a captain after landing to maintain accountability in the record attempt. The collision was spotted by another diver, who reported it to a ground medic. Adams' body was located by a spotter plane carrying Nelson, who jumped from the plane and landed near Adams' body in a cornfield off the runway. Nelson began yelling during the descent that he found Adams, said Sheriff Thomas Templeton. Nelson separated from his parachute and ran toward Adams. Adams was pronounced dead at the scene at 12:24 p.m., said La Salle County Coroner Jody Bernard. An autopsy is scheduled for later today. Bernard did not know if Adams was killed in the collision, but said at a minimum he was knocked unconscious. Reed was located before Adams. He was found in a soybean field about 350 yards west of East 19th Road, Templeton said. The Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the accident, Nelson said, and examine the equipment used by the skydivers. Nelson said that the equipment Adams used is in perfect working condition, and that the accident wasn't anybody's fault. The death marks the seventh since Skydive Chicago moved to its present location in 1993. ................... Victim `had passion for skydiving' Paul Adams planned to take Amber Taylor and her roommate -- who rented the basement of his Missoula, Mont., home -- skydiving with him when he returned from the world-record attempt in Ottawa. "He talked about (skydiving) a lot. He was always trying to get us to go," Taylor said. When they agreed, "he was all excited to take us when he got back." She learned Sunday he had been killed in an accident that morning, and it looks like she and her roommate won't be making that jump for a while. "It's not because of the accident, really," Taylor said. "It's because he's not here. He was an amazing guy. He treated us awesome." Adams, 54, had given Taylor a $70 watch when she graduated from the University of Montana this spring, and he bought his tenants a new refrigerator for their apartment, she said. Before he left for Illinois, he was in the yard, excitedly showing the women a diagram of the formation planned for the world-record attempt. He told them he was a little nervous, Taylor said. Adams' ex-wife, Brenda Elvey of Missoula, said skydiving was a natural part of life while they were married, and the two have maintained a friendly relationship since their 1992 divorce. They have two adult children, Beth and Steven. Elvey estimated Adams had been skydiving for more than 30 years. When the couple would move to a new town, the first thing he would do is search out the nearest place to skydive, she said. "He really loved it. He had a sense of adventure. He had a passion for skydiving, and that probably grew the more he did it. "He had had a couple small injuries before, broken bones in his foot and different things like that, but that never seemed to bother him or set him back, or make him not want to do it. He really enjoyed a lot of things -- scuba diving, hunting -- but skydiving was his biggest passion. "I think he was very responsible; he wasn't foolhardy. I think he was very much safety first," she said. "I think he was a Christian man. He liked skydiving, traveling and he enjoyed his kids." Mick Fauske, who worked with Adams at Montana Rail Link, said Adams was "thrilled" to be asked to join the record attempt, and proud he was one of the oldest people participating. The two men hunted together, but Adams had never persuaded Fauske to jump. "I'm not much of a heights person, but he enjoyed it," Fauske said. " (He liked) the thrill of it, the idea of flying. I know it was his favorite sport." Adams had been a railroad engineer for more than 30 years -- for Burlington Northern and Union Pacific before Montana Rail Link formed in 1987 -- and both Elvey and Fauske praised his railroading abilities. Elvey said, "I know he could run an engine by how the seat felt. He was a good engineer." "He was a really good guy," Fauske said. "He took care of his family. He was a good railroader; he was a good skydiver." "He'll be missed," Taylor said. "We're all still in shock here." © The Daily Times http://www.ottawadailytimes.com/odtnews/news4.htm
  21. Harness Container was a Telesis 2, Main was a Navigator 280, Reserve a PD253R Training background: Deceased was trained by a highly experienced USPA AFF and military instructor. The training was a military exercise done strictly in accordance with USPA guidelines. Deceased had made 5 prior jumps, with good to excellent performance on all jumps, with the exception of a tendency to dip right side low on deployment. This was his second jump of the day. His training records reflected corrective training on body position at pull time. Description of incident: The AFF Level 6 jump went as planned, with excellent performance by the deceased. He waved and pulled at 4500' as planned. His body position at pull time was right side low due to knee dropped. Deployment appeared to progress normally to the jumpmaster. The jumpmaster did not see full canopy deployment. Deceased was next seen at approximately 2500' with a main/reserve entanglement. He was seen trying to clear the entanglement until impact. Post jump inspection found that the cutaway handle and reserve ripcords had been pulled. The kink in the reserve ripcord cable caused by RSL activation eliminated the possibility that the deceased had pulled the handles in the wrong order. The reserve bridle was found entangled with the right main line group. The main canopy was twisted in such a way that it appeared to have hung up on the left (RSL) side. Final inspection of the equipment revealed that the slider bumper on the right rear riser may have snagged the reserve static line, causing the dual deployment. Pulling the cutaway handle may have taken away this jumper's only chance of survival. To put the jump in the most likely order of events: Deceased deployed right side low. Right rear riser slider bumper snagged RSL during deployment. Main deployed normally. Reserve partially deployed. Deceased saw main and reserve out, with malfunctioning reserve. Deceased pulled cutaway handle and reserve ripcord. The resulting entanglement was not surviveable. This sequence of events is considered the most likely scenario based on the available information. It should be noted that in this, as is the case of all fatality reports, the person with the most information is unfortunately, unable to provide his or her input. Conclusions: It must be stressed that the pull priorities of : Pull Pull at the correct altitude Pull at the correct altitude with stability still apply. Stability at pull time great improves the probability of one good fully functional parachute. Sacrificing altitude for stability still is not a viable alternative. Even in an unstable body position at deployment time, the chances of a good parachute are very high. A review of different 2 canopies out scenarios, and practicing procedures in a suspended harness, or even a conversation with a very knowledgeable Instructor to review your current philosophy on different 2 canopies out scenarios may be enough to save your life.
  22. Panama City Beach Florida PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. Minnesota National Guardsman killed in skydiving mishap: A Minnesota Air National Guard technical sergeant was killed after landing improperly during a skydiving jump. Benjamin A. Freeman, 31, died Tuesday after jumping from an airplane 3,000 feet high near Eagle Air Sports, a small airport near Panama City Beach. Jennifer Collins, a spokeswoman for the Bay County Sheriff's Office, said human error appeared to have been the cause of the accident. "The parachute deployed normally and he was doing some simple maneuvers," she said. "There was nothing odd with the plane or the equipment. He was an experienced jumper." Freeman, a full-time guardsman, was stationed at nearby Tyndall Air Force Base, where he was part of an alert detachment of the Minnesota Guard's 148th Fighter Wing, said Maj. Don Arias, a spokesman for the 1st Air Force at Tyndall. Ground crew members such as Freeman are on permanent status at Tyndall while pilots rotate from Minnesota. Freeman had recently moved here from Tulsa, Okla., where he had been with the Oklahoma Air National Guard, Arias said. His wife and child were at the airport at the time of the accident. The Air Force Office of Special Investigation and Bay County Sheriff's deputies were still investigating. Chico Hot Springs Montana A Great Falls skydiver who did a trick turn to pick up speed as he was coming in for a landing at Chico Hot Springs Saturday died of multiple injuries after hitting the ground. Philip Moore, 39, and an experienced jumper, suffered multiple traumatic injuries when he landed hard in a field near the horse barn about 2:30 p.m., said Park County Coroner Al Jenkins. Moore was participating in an annual Chico jump meet. He died aboard a Life-Flight helicopter taking him to St. Vincent Hospital in Billings. "This is a terrible tragedy at a really positive and high-energy event, and everybody is just sick," said Colin Davis, Chico's general manager. The accident happened as Moore was coming in for a landing, said sky diver Chris Trujillo of Casper, Wyo., who witnessed Moore's jump. "Everything looked normal until the last few seconds," Trujillo said. Moore was coming down under a full canopy, and as he made his final approach, he did a hook turn. A hook turn allows a sky diver to get a little more speed and sets him up for a fast approach on landing. "He didn't recover from the hook turn fast enough," Trujillo said. "There may have been turbulence in the air." He described the winds as "light to moderate, well within the safety range" for sky diving. He speculated that circular winds may have complicated Moore's landing. "It's one of those fluke things that just happened," he said. "We've made thousands of skydives here." After Moore's hard landing, two doctors, who happened to be driving by the resort, gave Moore CPR and attempted to stabilize him until emergency medical technicians arrived from Emigrant and Livingston. The Life-Flight helicopter was called. At least 60 sky divers from throughout the nation were attending the annual event. Sky divers stopped jumping for a while after the accident, but resumed about 5 p.m., Davis said. Plans are to continue the meet Sunday. An investigation is under way by the coroner and Park County sheriff's deputies. Jenkins said he is awaiting the results of autopsy toxicology.
  23. An airplane crash that killed a pilot and five skydivers in Grain Valley in 1998 probably was caused by preflight errors that led to a loss of oil and to rod failures in the engine, according to investigators' final report. A report released over the weekend by the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that the pilot, David G. Snyder of Independence, inadequately prepared the single-engine plane before the flight. No safety board spokesman could be reached for comment on Sunday. Leaking oil apparently led to overheating and engine failure, the report said. The oil filler tube was missing and screws were either missing or loose. Connecting rods in two of the plane's six cylinders were found unattached to the crankshaft. Shortly into the flight, which originated at Independence Memorial Airport, Snyder told air traffic controllers he was canceling skydiving operations. Witnesses reported seeing white and black smoke and hearing a banging sound from the plane. The 1979 model Cessna 206 crashed and burned at the East Kansas City Airport in Grain Valley on March 21, 1998. Skydiving passengers who were killed were Marion C. Rudder, 47, of Oskaloosa, Kan.; John H. Schuman, 47, of Lawrence; Kenneth L. Buckley, 50, of Independence; Paul Eric Rueff, 32, of Kansas City, Kan.; and Julie L. Douglass, 24, of Kansas City. Snyder, 55, was the registered owner of the plane. He obtained his commercial pilot certificate in 1971 and was rated to fly by visual flight rules, which he was doing on the day of the crash. Snyder was flying for the Greater Kansas City Skydiving Club, which was based at the Independence airport. The club does not have a listed telephone number, and its officers could not be reached Sunday. Chris Hall, president of a separate operation in Lee's Summit called Skydive Kansas City Inc., said he frequently gets calls from people trying to locate the former Independence outfit. The safety board's finding of probable cause differs with a theory propounded by Kansas City lawyer Gary C. Robb, who represents the families of four of the dead skydivers in a lawsuit against the engine manufacturer, Teledyne Industries Inc. Robb contends there were metallurgical faults in the engine's connecting rods. Robb could not be reached Sunday, and the status of the lawsuit could not immediately be determined. Robert Cotter, a local lawyer representing Teledyne, has said the crash was a result of maintenance problems. Federal Aviation Administration records show that a certified mechanic had declared the aircraft and its engine airworthy four months before the crash. Work was done on the plane's cylinders and rings one month before the crash, and work was done on the oil pump one week before the crash. A second certified mechanic declared it airworthy at that time. Investigators looking at the wreckage found that the engine and the left side of the fuselage, including the wing and strut, were covered with oil film. A metal oil filler tube, the piece to which the oil cap connects, was missing and the screws that would have connected it were not found. In addition, five of six screws connecting the rocker-arm cover to cylinder number 6 were missing, and the sixth one was loose. Holes were found on the left crankcase near cylinders 2 and 6, the two in which the connecting rods were unattached. "The engine's internal components suffered damage typical of oil loss and heat distress," the safety board report states. The fatal flight took off with a full load of passengers shortly after 5:30 p.m. on a Saturday. Snyder made contact as "Skydive Six" with air traffic controllers and apparently left his radio microphone on, or it was stuck in the on position. About eight minutes after Snyder indicated he was going to climb to 11,000 feet above sea level, the controller reported hearing, "What the hell was that?" In his last transmission Snyder announced, without explanation, that he was canceling the jump. Radar indicates the highest altitude the plane achieved was 5,200 feet above sea level or roughly 4,400 feet above the ground. Witnesses eight miles northeast of the Grain Valley airport reported seeing white and black smoke trailing from the plane. A witness two miles north of the airport reported hearing a banging sound. At the airport witnesses saw flames from the engine licking the windshield. The plane clipped some trees just south of the airport. Its right wing struck the ground, and the craft cartwheeled and burned. Buckley, Rueff, Rudder and Schuman all were experienced skydivers. Douglass was to make her first jump. Ron Sharp, who was president of the Greater Kansas City Skydiving Club, said a few days after the crash that the Cessna 206 had been in the air several times already that day. At one point the engine became flooded and the plane was allowed to sit awhile. Later, after the battery was recharged, another pilot took it up for a test flight, Sharp said. Then Snyder took off with his passengers. "It sounded good," Sharp said at the time. "It sounded perfect."
  24. HANSEN -- His friends warned him not to jump. It was too dark. The wind wasn't right. The water was too high. But 29-year-old Roger Butler, an experienced BASE jumper who once parachuted from the Stratosphere hotel tower in Las Vegas, apparently died Sunday after jumping from the Hansen Bridge and disappearing in the water. "All of them tried to talk him out of it, but he had to do it," said Cpl. Daron Brown of the Twin Falls County Sheriff's Office. "The guy was experienced, but he made a bad choice." With the help of a brand-new underwater camera, search and rescue teams from Jerome and Twin Falls counties continued searching the frigid Snake River Monday for signs of Butler and his parachute, but the search was called off as sundown neared. Water flow at the Minidoka Dam was stopped late Monday to lower the water level and aid searchers when they continue this morning. The counties don't know the cost of the search. Butler, who had made more than 600 BASE jumps, spent Sunday with three friends parachuting from the Perrine Bridge, a popular spot for BASE jumpers because it is legal to jump there. BASE stands for building, antenna, span and earth. In October 1999, this same group had parachuted with a woman the day before she broke her back in a jumping accident at the Perrine Bridge, said Nancy Howell, spokeswoman for the Twin Falls County Sheriff's Office. The group was headed back to Ogden, Utah, Sunday before stopping at the Hansen Bridge, where jumping also is legal. With his friends videotaping, Butler jumped from the west side of the bridge and glided toward the water without a hitch, but he ran into trouble after hitting the river, Howell said. It wasn't immediately clear what happened, but shortly after landing in the water Butler and his chute disappeared below the surface. Neither has been seen since, she said. Butler was not wearing a life jacket, and he was jumping into a highly inaccessible area of the Snake River Canyon, Brown said. "BASE jumping is like whitewater rafting," he said. "It's a self-saving sport. You can't expect to jump off a bridge and have someone come and save you." Butler's taste for daring jumps was passed down from his father, a parachuter for 30 years, said Paul Butler, an uncle who drove to Twin Falls after the accident. Roger Butler watched his father nearly die in a 1998 parachuting accident that almost cost the older Butler his leg. But a year later father and son were parachuting together again during a Fourth of July celebration, Paul Butler said. "He just loved to do this," Paul Butler said of his nephew. "He loved to fly."