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

VIDEO: Surrey hair salon joins sustainability initiative

Hair can be used to create boom to clean up oil spills: Green Circle Salons

White Rock breaks temperature record

B.C. city was the hottest in all of Canada

South Surrey church members ‘praying for accused mother… for the whole process’

Lisa Batstone’s second-degree murder trial continues this week in B.C. Supreme Court

City will ask Fraser Health to remove pay parking at SMH, Surrey councillor says

Surrey’s new council has already made parking free on neighbouring city streets

VIDEO: Health and Technology District breaks ground on new building

City Centre 3 is the third of eight planned buildings: Lark Group

Trudeau offers to help Pacific islands face climate change impact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with the leaders from the Pacific island nations on Saturday during the APEC Summit in Papua New Guinea

BC Minister of Agriculture loses stepson to accidental overdose

Lana Popham announces death of her 23-year-old stepson, Dan Sealey

Canadian military’s template for perfect recruits outdated: Vance

Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff says that the military has to change because the very nature of warfare is changing, particularly when it comes to cyber-warfare

‘Toxic’ chosen as the Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries

Other top contenders for 2018 include ‘gaslighting’ and ‘techlash’

RCMP bust illegal B.C. cannabis lab

Marijuana may be legal but altering it using chemicals violates the Cannabis Act

1 woman dead, man in hospital after ‘suspicious’ crash: police

Homicide investigators and Burnaby RCMP are investigating the fatal collision

Canada defeats Germany 29-10 in repechage, moves step closer to Rugby World Cup

Hong Kong needs a bonus-point win over Canada — scoring four or more tries — while denying the Canadians a bonus point

Avalanche Canada in desperate need of funding

The organization provides avalanche forecasting for an area larger than the United Kingdom

5 B.C. cities break temperature records

Parts of B.C. remain warm, at 10 C, while others feeling chilly

Most Read