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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Aldergrove nine year old starts veggie stand to raise money for his first computer

Lochlan Delmaestro has sold $45 worth of herbs and vegetables in just two weeks

VIDEO: Fire breaks out in RV, spreads to garage of Langley home

Crews remain on site as the investigate the cause and extend of damage

Langley intersections lead Lower Mainland for 2019 car crashes: ICBC data

Stats indicate 200th and 264th Street at Highway 1 prove the most dangerous for crashes

Off-duty cop nabs suspected drunk driver

Call for assistance at Langley incident drew massive police response

Dinosaurs revived for Langley animatronic auction

More than 500 robot dinosaurs, fossils, and exhibition gear are going on the block Aug. 6

Airlines dispute Dr. Henry’s claim they ‘very rarely’ give accurate COVID contact tracing info

Air Canada, WestJet say they provide names and contact information

Airborne hot dog strikes Greater Victoria pedestrian

Police called to 4200-block of Quadra Street for hot dog incident

Mission’s 7-Eleven defaced with racist graffiti

Racist insults attacking Indo-Canadians ‘shocked’ manager

B.C. scientist, 63, protests in trees set to be removed for Trans Mountain pipeline

Tim Takaro is reaching new heights as he tries to stall the pipeline expansion project in New Westminster

Dwindling B.C. bamboo supply leaves Calgary Zoo biologists worried about pandas

Zoo has been trying to send pandas back to China since May

UPDATE: Slow growth for wildfire near Harrison Hot Springs

Fire now burns 12 hectares, grew by 2 hectares overnight

B.C. paramedics responded to a record-breaking 2,700 overdose calls in July

Province pledges $10.5 million for expansion of overdose prevention response

Canada signs deals with Pfizer, Moderna to get doses of COVID-19 vaccines

Earlier in July both Pfizer and Moderna reported positive results from smaller trials

Most Read