|Date||Location||Category||Age||# Jumps||AAD?/RSL?||Dropzone.com Report||Dropzone.com Discussion|
|04/05/2003||Great Lakes Skydiving, MI||FFCOL||32||800||Y/Y|| ||#470128|
|Description: The jumper was part of a larger freefly group and collided during break-off rendering them both unconcious. The AADs of both jumpers deployed their reserves. One jumper was able to walk away but the other passed away next morning in the hospital.|
|Lessons:The higher freefall speeds of freeflying increases the risks of incidents especially during break-off. Be careful|
|Description: This jumper was part of a 3-way head-down skydive in which he planned to orbit around the other two skydivers. Witnesses reported that this jumper and one of the other jumpers appeared to come very close together at breakoff altitude, and apparently, they collided. The two jumpers began to separate from each other in freefall and continued falling until their reserve parachutes opened at a low altitude. This jumper was observed to be limp in the harness during the canopy descent and struck a tree and then a car trunk before reaching the ground. First aid was administered immediately, and he was airlifted to a hospital, but he died the next day.|
| Conclusions:The collision apparently occurred just as the two center jumpers initiated breakoff from each other to track away before deployment. Witnesses reported that the formation was difficult to observe from the ground due to its horizontal distance from the DZ. The training or freefly experience of the three jumpers was not reported.
Both jumpers' automatic activation devices had fired. The other jumper also suffered head injuries and was found wandering in a confused state near the DZ. He was unable to recall the jump. Bother jumpers wore hard helmets, although the collision apparently knocked the helmet off the jumper who was killed. His helmet was receovered later during a search of the area, but its condition was not reported. The surviving jumper's helmet was described as cracked, leaving sharp edges that cut his head.
Any group skydive should include a breakoff plan to ensure that each jumper safely separates to clear airspace for deployment. As freeflying becomes more common, USPA hears of more and more freefall collisions. Most have been uneventful, but some have resulted in injuries or fatalities.
Jumpers should gain control and awareness in freeflying orientations with an experienced freefly coach before jumping with others. Further USPA recommendations on freeflying appear in Section 6-2 of the Skydiver's Information Manual
|Name||John C. Rubom|