Skydiving is a dangerous sport, says the owner of Capital City Skydiving in North Saanich. Emergency training and practice can help avoid trouble, as in the case of a skydiver who cut away a malfunctioning chute on April 22. (Facebook)

B.C. skydiver lands safely after cutting away main chute

Greater Victoria emergency services called after witnesses saw spiralling chute

A skydiver was able to cut free a spiralling parachute and deploy her backup chute during a jump over Victoria last weekend.

She landed safely, says the owner of Capital City Skydiving, but passers-by saw the malfunctioning parachute, thought it was a skydiver in distress and called emergency services.

Bob Verett says the skydiver landed safely, having performed an emergency cut away of a chute that had spiraled almost immediately after being deployed on her jump.

“She did the right thing at high altitude,” he said.

Verret noted he and his instructors train people on emergency procedures, and what to do in the event a chute fails is one of them.

“Emergency procedures are taught to all our students and we review it throughout the year. And we review them each time we’re in the aircraft.”

In this case, Verret said the skydiver deployed her chute and could not control it. He said the emergency procedure is to assess the situation as quickly as you can — no one on the ground is able to help — and if a jumper cannot resolve an issue with their main parachute, they are to cut it away and deploy their secondary chute.

“She did a good job and she landed safely.”

Verret said both paramedics and the Central Saanich Fire Department were called and arrived at the jump zone at Woodwynn Farms on West Saanich Road. By then, the skydiver had already landed. Verret added she plans to jump again this week.

Verret, who has more than 2,200 jumps under his belt and was a search and rescue technician with the Canadian Forces, said his first parachute cut away didn’t happen until he’d passed 1,200 jumps. They can happen, he said, at any time which is why training is so important.

Parachute failure, he added, can also depend on a variety of factors, from weather to how a skydiver leaves an aircraft. Verret noted they debriefed after the jump to find out why it happened and how to prevent it. In this case, he said the reasons why the chute failed are inconclusive.

Capital City Skydiving is at the centre of multiple incidents that took place last year, that reminds people of the dangers in the sport.

An experienced solo skydiver made a hard landing at Woodwynn while videotaping a tandem jump in September 2017. He suffered serious injuries and would later lose his leg.

In June last year, a tandem jump went wrong and the skydivers landed in trees, necessitating a rescue. A Sooke man sustained head, hip and arm injuries in that incident and is reportedly suing Capital City Skydiving, according to media reports.

The sport is mostly self-regulated, but incidents like this are reported to the Canadian Sport Parachuting Association, which can make recommendations.

In August 2017, the District of Central Saanich, in response to the apparent frequency of skydiving accidents that year, asked Transport Canada to investigate. Transport Canada, however, does not regulate the sport — only the aircraft used in skydiving.

Just Posted

Ladysmith children get behind the wheel for Public Works Day

Ladysmith marked Public Works Day on Thursday with over 600 children getting… Continue reading

Ladysmith author honours late sister in new children’s book

Sarah de Vries disappeared from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside in 1998

Chemainus ‘Mountain Man’ joins search for Ben Kilmer

Kevin Shiell has been putting his extensive outdoor skills to good use

Search for missing Cowichan man moves towards Hill 60

Volunteer searchers are moving westward

Trans Mountain pipeline: How we got here

A look at the Kinder Morgan expansion, decades in the making

WestJet pilot strike averted as parties agree to mediation

Pilots had warned they could go on strike starting May 19

Out of control wildfire prompts restriction around Allie Lake

One of the first large wildfires of the 2018 season is blazing out of control

Passersby help rescue occupants of home as fire breaks out in Courtenay

Coffee run turns into fire rescue for pair of men

Giant beer tanks arrive in new B.C. home city

Molson Coors tanks finish river journey and move to overland trip in Chilliwack

VIDEO: Pipeline supporters rally across B.C.

Langley event one of five held in B.C.

VIDEO: B.C. woman praises burn fund after boat explosion in 1978

White Rock woman was 16 years old when she was left with second- and third-degree burns

B.C.’s Ryan Craig, Vegas Golden Knights chase history

Local product behind bench for expansion team’s incredible championship run

Most Read