Skip to Content

BASE Jumping: Articles: Stories: Collection of Base Incidents

Collection of Base Incidents

by admin
So, here’s an opportunity for those of us who have made grand blunders and survived to come clean for the benefit of others. Some Background… Inside the early BASE magazines like BASELINE and The BASE Gazette probably the most important and useful sections are the accident and incident reports. However, problems arose as the reports were written by an editor and not a witness and in many cases speculation rather than fact is reported. It wasn’t too unusual for the next issue to have an angry letter from the jumper involved that began, “You Stupid Bonehead Jerks.” When we started the JOURNAL we tried to get around that problem by only printing accident reports by the person involved, or if that wasn’t possible, by an actual (experienced BASE jumping) witness. Even at that, accurate reporting is difficult, as two people can see the same thing yet disagree on what they saw. (Like when an aircraft crashes whuffo witness always say conflicting things, “It was on fire before it hit the ground.” “It burst into flames after hitting the ground.” “It came down in one piece.” “It came down in a million pieces.” “The pilot was steering away from the school house.” “The pilot steered right for the schoolhouse.” “The engines were racing.” “The engines were off,” etc. In BASE jumping it’s can sometimes be the same, “He turned right and hit the wall.” “He turned left and hit the wall.” In the end the best reports are the ones where you survived, figured out what went wrong and then clue the rest of us in.

So, for the benefit of others, leave the ego behind and go ahead and roast yourself… Allright, here goes. Where possible, stories are anonymous. If you don’t want your story reprinted here, let the administrator know.

In New Zealand we came upon a bridge that is used for Bungee jumping. It’s 120-feet high and one side is over a very inviting sand bar.

I am anxious to make my first BASE jump in New Zealand, too anxious.

“Hey Mate,” I say pulling out my BASE rig, “mind if I have a go?”

“Sure,” said the friendly Kiwi, “what can we do to help?”

I mounted the rail with alarm bells going off in my head, but from what? Normal apprehension? This seemed a bit more than usual, I mean I’m always scared, but something is amiss, the alarm bells are warning me of something but I ignore them and jump.

Five seconds later I’m laying under the bridge with two broken legs.

The pain is excruciating and I wonder if I’m slowly bleeding to death. A Jetboat full of Japanese tourists comes down the river and stops next to me. I’m sinking into shock as I hear one of tourists say, “Oh look, bungee no good!”

What Happened . . .

The bridge and the landing area are appropriate for a direct bag or static line jump (A bit low at 120 feet, but do-able). On the bridge the wind is blowing about 3 MPH downwind. Directly below the launch point on the bridge is a group of small boulders but unless I flat go in, I’d float over and land on the clear soft sand bar beyond.

What happened however is this:

The wind is blowing a lot stronger on the ground than on the bridge. The gorge under the bridge is bowed in toward the center and this made for a venturi effect. When the wind entered this area it is squeezed by the canyon walls and naturally speeds up.

I had what felt like a good opening, but I never really got under the canopy. The (down)wind never allowed me to pendulum under the canopy and it is like I front risered myself right into those rocks I was supposed to grandly sail right over.

Sure, I thought about going down and walking the landing area. But I didn’t because it was a tough hike out and I only wanted to do it once.

I’m still paying the price today for those injuries.

What an idiot I am.

One hot air balloon jump and two Bridge day jumps, I’m ready to do some real jumping. I took a road trip a couple Christmas’s ago. Traveled first to AZ but the B.C. bridge at 340' seem too intimidating to jump. So I drove to California next to jump the 650' bridge. First jump during day-break went very well so I decided the next day, I will strap a camera to my head to show my buddies what it is like.

Next morning I noticed the winds had picked up, maybe to 25 mph, but I figured it will just make for a soft landing since I will open, then turn 180 into the wind and land. I decided to go stowed and take a three second delay. I also wanted to try landing on the other side of the river this time. So, I jumped, went to three seconds, then threw out the pilot chute. I did not realize that going stowed and throwing and holding it in your hand and throwing makes the delay even longer. My parachute sniveled (slider up), and when it finally opened, i was far downriver,

I made one 180 degree turn to my right, hooked turned right through the top of a tree and hit a second tree, a 8 inch wide tree limb hit me across the ribs instantly stopping me in my tracks. I then slid through the tree branches and was stuck. I dangled over the rocks about 25 feet high. 7am, no help and i decided to rock my way as close to the tree trunk as possible and cut-away, which i did.

Not sure if I had broken or cracked ribs but they were hurting horrible for about 6 weeks. The story is much longer, but I will say that my cheap $500 car broke down and I bought a CA Suzuki Samarai to drive 2000 miles home. Holding my ribs with one hand and driving with the other. I realize of course it could have been much worse. High winds, alone, 3 base jumps, God Loves a fool I guess.

Biggest Mistake

Not realizing that fixating on target at bridge day = Broken heel.

Second biggest Mistake

Same cliff Nathan jumped, 9 months earlier. My 13th jump. No practice or training with running exits. “Yeah, I’m going stowed. Yeah, I’m gonna do a running exit. 10 seconds. 3, 2, 1, cya.” Thought to self as exiting- “what’s that little lip just below the edge of the cliff.” Next thought to self - “Ohhh sh*t!”

Result: Complete head down deloyment = Body-lash. 170 degree opening with 3 line twists. Stars and double vision under canopy. Pain and scar tissue in mid-back for months afterwards.

Lesson learned: 1.) Start with one step, then two steps, then three steps… 2.) Always look at horizon when exiting. 3.) Vicodin, Codeine, and alcohol mix well.

Way back on 5/l4/9l I broke my back on a BASE jump which cost me $60,000 plus, 2 rods in my back (which came out l8 months later), fusion of 3 or 4 lower vertabrae and l8 months of being grounded. And here’s how it all happened:

Myself and a number of friends had just arrived in California after a cross-country BASE expedition which began in Florida. We arrived in CA during the 7 yr. drought that CA had been experiencing.

The drought had caused a number of bridges that are usually unjumpable to suddenly turn into wonderful BASE toys of varying height, from l80 - 400 ft. Well, as I mentioned, we had just arrived after a cross-country trip which consisted of jumping anything and everything we came across. I was fairly current and feeling a bit cocky.

What was interesting was the conversation a bunch of us had the night before my accident. Someone asked if anyone had ever missed a toggle and if so, any problems associated with it? Well, I piped up….”NOoo, how could you miss your toggle?” Guess what? The very next jump I missed my toggle on opening. I was jumping a bridge at approx. 350 ft. - over water mind you. What could possibly go wrong? (that’s a Dennis McGlynn nugget, I believe.) The intended landing area was just to the right, on a narrow strip of land.

Well, as I stated, on opening I missed my right toggle, but had got hold of my left toggle. It was one smooth motion, so before I even realized I had missed my right toggle, I found myself turning to the left - the result of having released my left toggle. Instead of just grabbing my right riser and splashing into the lake, I made the fateful decision (thinking I still had plenty of time) to look up, reach up and release my right toggle.

Just upon releasing my right toggle and making a fairly hard right turn towards the landing area, I looked down, just in time to SLAM into the ground - HARD! I hit, butt first on the edge of the landing strip. It hurt, but I didn’t really think I was that injured until I tried to sit up and found myself unable to. In a panic, I checked my legs and feet… YES - thank you God, everything seemed to still work, except that I couldn’t sit up.

To make a long story short….yes, I severely broke my back and experienced l8 months of misery on the ground while everyone around me played HARD! The lessons I learned? Well, just cuz you’re current, don’t get cocky. And NEVER say NEVER! And, next time, splash in….(another Dennis nugget:) “You DRY a lot faster than ya heal!”

So there I was, Idaho with the big boys from the northwest. Mistake #1: Self-taught/ packing video from “Tailored for Survival”. good pack job but, I never separated my brake lines. bad habits from skydiving flat packs.

left on left:right on right. BUT i did not check for twists until opening. I tried to fix it during flight but SLAMMMMM, 2 broken ribs later, I made another 8 jumps and took Ibuprofren, vicodin and codeine like candy.

Like a friend of mine said “ make sure you separate your lines mate”.

1988 - Sydney CBD - 39th(roof) floor of bldg. under construction - 3:00 am Friday 13th with 3 of us about to exit from N/W corner.

We’re all using direct-bag deployment at the time with safety bridle running from bag to attachment point on bldg. (it’s the olden-day’s ya’ know)


1st jumper off and lands next to a taxi who converses with Jumper. Call from a panicky assistant up top “He’s gonna radio the cops - quick - go!go!go!”

This is my second base jump and have put all my trust and faith into my Mentor/bag-holder-dude!

“Am I right to go????”

“Yeah mate - go!”

…..and so I exit……

But alas my bridle cord was no longer running clean from bag to bldg. It was mis-routed around my harness so that when I jumped, it broke and ripped the bag from ####’s hands.

I have a clear memory of the intense tug that resulted and the view from being spun 180 and now facing the corner of the bldg. now in free fall with lines floating in front of my face leading to a locked bag with about three stowes left intact and a broken bridle-cord wavering pilotchuteless in the ever increasing airflow.

How did I live???? Pure luck. The bridle-cord broke at a critical time where I was in a slow swing-back trajectory toward the bldg. and pure luck of physics put me on the only possible path to the only section of the bldg. on the 36th floor that had not had windows put in yet! In fact the 36th, 35th and 34th floors themselves internally did not exist and so I was lucky that I just managed to stop myself on the edge before plummetting an additional 40 odd foot inside.

And I hit hard - taking the impact with the full force of my chest and front of my helmet. It winded me big-time and hurt like hell but I knew I was in a bad way but had stopped falling and could wait for as long as it took to get me down. I just knew I had to remain conscious.

So there I was - spread-eagled across this tiny ledge until my mates managed to rig some ropes and steel cable down to me so they could lower me to the 33rd floor where I subsequently took the stairs down and bought a lottery ticket.

You could never repeat this experiment.

The bridle was mis-routed by me on the way up the stairs whilst frigging around trying to silence the noisy Carribeena hardware as well as that from my B12 snaps. It was never checked.

Lessons learnt:
  • Trust no-one. Blame no-one. Learn everything you can for yourself. Know it all and know that you will never know it all.
  • Now - with all that knowledge, check your gear!
  • Bring a small torch along for night jumps.
  • Don’t bring whuffo’s along.
  • Mis-routing your bridle is hazardous to your health.
  • Friday 13th can be your luckiest day or it can be your unluckiest day - depends on how you look
  • at it.
  • Know that life is too great a gift to lose on a BASE jump.

It took 3 years before I did anymore BASE. I now approach it with some years of wisdom and great respect for life and how stupid us humans are sometimes. Especially me! If I always recognise that I’m a stupid careless idiot at times then I’ll be more on guard and careful the next time this stupid careless idiot jumps.

Being new to this wonderful thing called Base has changed my life. However, I was too anxious one afternoon and almost paid the price. There’s a nice bridge down the road and it’s best if jumped in the early am(imagine that) I was unable to get off a object the night before, so I was going for the bridge at 12 noon, I wanted to jump bad.(stupid me) The winds were out of the west at 10 , no problem, they would be good at the bottom. (sure they will) Once at the exit point ,I notice IM 50ft off the spot. Screw it! I jump, one second delay, on heading.

Now IM too close to the tree’s, and not much altitude, turn left, cross wind did not help, time to land on the side of the hill with a big rock reaching out for me. In my attempt to avoid that rock I almost break my leg. Now IM nursing a strained knee, and thinking how lucky I was to walk (limp) away from that one. To all the new Base jumper’s, don’t let your desire over take your better judgement. It is easy to say, however this was a reality check for me.

Last day in a very nice place, let’s say out west. GOTTA have a last go at it…10–15 knot winds at the exit point with a prob. Level 4 thunderstorm approaching fast. NO Landing area noted, and subsequently no outs. Can’t go home with a packed rig though, eh?? Reasonable delay, funny how the winds die down right after exit, humm?? Can’t be too bad I thought.

Tossed about immediately upon opening, searching for the smallest rocks-ain’t none. Dropped in hard, thought I heard a bottle break when I did—t’was my leg! What followed was three months of pain and relative inactivity. Reminds me of the Big Three Questions one should ask themselves at the exit point before each jump, something Brian C. once taught me

1 Is my gear appropriate for the jump??
2 Is the weather “”“”“”“”“”“”“”“”“”“”“??
3 Am I capable of pulling of the jump consistently and repeatedly???
I flunked 2 of the 3 and it cost a great deal.

Think before you sink.

Head down exits suck. I had a similar event on my forth base jump off a cliff taking a nice runner. Nice view then all of a sudden a cliff appears out of no where. Lucky me I didn’t hit the cliff, and it was more of an ego bruise then anything else. The thing that didn’t occur to me or any of the others around me was that for the past 21 years I have been diving from the edge of a pool into the water. This was a natural position, run, plant both feet at the edge, dive in.

This means that the momentum carried by the upper body goes from forward to turning about the feet as an axis. In turn this leads to a head down body position. I’ve seen this in some other base jumpers especially those moving from many buildings to cliffs where you can take a nice runner. They tend to “doink” off the edge of the cliff, by running and planting both feet. After watching several of my fathering base jumpers and listening to their words of wisdom, I came to realise that one should simple run off the cliff. This allows a single foot exit, continues the inertia in a horizontal (if not more upward direction), places you further from the cliff, and prevents (to some degree) rotation around the axis known as feet. Any thoughts.

the date: january 1982

the equipment: container = wonderhog II canopy = gargano spirit ~ 220 ft 7 cell (in a bag)! pilot chute = ~32? F-111 bridle = ?????? ~ 6 foot standard skydiving bridle.

the object: a bank building in LA

the 1st big mistake: me, “ hey Carl, how do you think a bagged canopy will work on a building jump?” carl b. “ should be fine, let me know how it goes.”

the result: 180 off-heading opening, got the canopy flying backwards, but still slammed into the face feet first, fortunately the canopy never touched the face. i landed on the street undamaged and very happy to be alive. so happy, the fact that i was being detained by 2 big black guys with baseball bats, (security guards), did not faze me in the least.

biggest mistake(s): 1) gear selection…….. duh! 2) talking to the media about this afterwards.

results: 1) never used a bag again on a face jump. 2) never spoke to the media again about an illegal jump.

i’m on bonus time. hope you get to enjoy some too if you REALLY need it.

Biggest mistake? Probably just being born, but here are a few off the top of my head…

First mistake: late-childhood imprinting on Carl’s national geo. El Cap. jump special; a pbs mind in an mtv body!

Second mistake: learning to base jump before learning to skydive.

Third mistake: parachutes don’t have the same glide ratio as a c-150.

Fourth mistake: water landing smack dab in the middle of NR with jeans, t-shirt, sweatshirt, thick socks, jumpsuit, shoes, helmet, thread-thru rig without floatation…. and I actually tried to _save_ the canopy (dumbazz). Closest I’ve come right there!!! whew. get the willies just thinkin’ about it…. fortunately someone was at the bottom to help me out ;)

Fifth mistake: jumping the same object twice on the same day in the middle of the day (what a dumbazz I was). The conditions were perfectamundo, however ;) This was long ago people.. don’t get any kinks in your thongs.

Sixth mistake: got married (i’m outta that now, tho - woo hoo!!).

Caught someone’s legstraps not fastened _after_ they gimped on a countdown one time… that would have been interesting…

Saw some new (to me) video the other day… seems there’s a strong tendancy for people to try to wrestle to save a canopy when they’ve landed in the water. Give it up!!! Save yourself first.. then worry about the canopy. Wear flotation when jumping over water without rescue boats. Accept no less than perfect conditions… sure it reduces jump opportunities.. but the objects aren’t going anywhere.

My name is PerFlare and I got hurt on my second basejump. This was in 1998 at Kjerag (Norway) I jump my own brand new gear PRISM and FOX.

As the T-****s say, No ##### there is was, it was bad weather rain, fog and hi winds (you could see the white tip’s on top of the waves below). But I really like to jump so I decided to jump anyway. When I was starting to get my gear on I was thinking on what Tracy said when we where walking the LZ … If something happen and you cant make a safe landing on land chose the water, remember you dry faster then you heal. So I thought if I could not handle the wind I was going for the water.

Then it was my turn to jump. When I was standing on the edge I could not see the LZ all the time for the fog and the horizon was not there to look on but I tough, “How hard could it be!” and jumped. The exit was HEADDOWN and the ledge was right there and I was falling towards it. After a few seconds and starting to pick up some airspeed I was able to start tracking.

After deploying I turn my canopy in to the wind … and went backwards towards the LZ but it seemed like if I just did a fast 90 degree turn and then up in the wind again and I could land on the grass area. My 90 degree turn become a 180 degree turn and I was really travelling, I mean REALLY travelling and I then all of a sudden I did not want to get my gear I wet!!!! Made a hookturn and hit one of the big stones it is the size of a trailer and it did not move :-)

When I was lying there between the rocks I felt really stupid so I when I could speak again (just got the wind knocked out of me) I stood up and said I’m ok. I was a little bit embarrassed so I did not said that my back was feeling funny! After sitting and sleeping for three months I really tired of the pain so I did an X-ray and found out that that it will never stop hurting. Cracked two disks and the bone in-between, the X-ray showed that I cracked my lower leg and my heel to … well I guess that that explain the pain I had in my leg to ;-)

Well I learned a lot but the price was hi, and the doc was right my back hurt more and more for every day and I remembering him say, you be back when it wears down to the nerves so I guess that stiff back operation is coming closer.

Kjerag 1999, exit point #7 4-way (2 in front 2 in back on exit) I was in front with a belly mount camera facing down. The goal was to exit slightly head down to get my buddy coming off behind me then track safely away. What happened- I took 3 steps, leaned forward and pushed off. The last step slopes downward, so that in cunjunction with me leaning forward caused me to go too far head down. In fact. I went all the way onto my back and got stuck.

I thought I could correct my position and get clear of the wall. As I was falling on my back and actually “back tracking” toward the wall I thought this is not good. I could see the 12 second talus getting closer and closer :o. I somehow got belly to Earth and deployed immediatly. Luckily I packed an on-heading opening!! After looking at the video I deployed at 9 to 10 seconds after launch, probably less than a second from sniveling into the cliff. Lessons learned: 1. Focus on good body position, no matter how easy the jump seems to be. 2. Don’t worry so much about getting “the shot” 3. If ever in that position again, continue the front flip and get the hell away from the object. 4. No matter how hard you try to “roll up the windows” it won’t help you recover from a bad launch. HA, HA.

Always, always, learn from the mistakes that don’t kill you!! CYA, 570 :-)

I learned a good lesson just a couple of weeks ago. I was traveling with friends on the yearly pilgrimage to Moab. The first leg of our journey found us driving all night to a nice cliff in Arizona. Now I am usually very good at taking my time to analyze all aspects of a jump (ie obstacles in freefall, obstacles on landing, all possible outs, etc.), but on this particular jump I looked at the cliff for 2 minutes and then started up the approach. I was letting the excitement of the road trip and the first object get the best of me…

So there I am on the exit point with my buds. It is sort of a blind exit of sorts…

There is a cross-wind from right-to-left, but in my hasty pre-jump observations, I had only seen a fin of rock sticking out on the right-hand side.

Hmmm…no problem here. 3..2..1..C-ya!

As I’m in freefall, I see a buttress sticking out on the *left-hand* side. Wow! That thing is kinda close.

I pitch, and crack! I have a 120left. Now that crosswind is a tailwind because of my off-heading opening.

I’m on it lightening-fast and bring it around just fine, but I noted just how close my end-cell was to that cliff.

After landing, and coming down from the excitement, I looked over at one of my freinds and said, “Ya know…we sure were stupid for running up that cliff without taking the time to explore all aspects of this cliff - I didn’t even know that buttress was there until I was in freefall!”

Lessons learned:

Off-headings are going to happen, but you should at least be aware of the upcoming obstacles well before you have to deal with them.

Take the time to analyze *every* aspect of a jump because things will go wrong. Having a well-thought out plan may make the difference in a “wow-that sure was close” and a bodybag!

Gear: 1978 Wonderhog, 150' Strato-Flyer, 6' bridle, 32? pilot chute, Canopy side packed with lines figure eighted into the bottom of the container. (none of this is a factor, just funny to think what I was jumping) Imagine if you will… Noon on a Sunday, three of us on a rural antenna in the SouthEast. John had been here before, Mad Dog’s first base jump and the other two were going to photograph.

We made a slow ascent of this 1400 footer depositing Mike at 1100' with his super 8 camera, me at 1200 with 35mm, John at 1300 and Mad Dog at 1400. John goes no sweat. (In fact I think he had the nads of a gladiator when I think of our exploits back then.) Mad Dog goes off head down, flops over and deploys totally unstable, has 180 and line twists, flys back at the tower and just misses it. John and MD land uneventfully. Mike and I spend the next 30 minutes getting our gear ready reveling in the view and talking myself into jumping. (I always had to do that before I got my Reactor and Fox) All of a sudden a faint tink, tink, tink could be heard.

I looked down to see a large brown car with a blue light on its roof sitting at the base of the tower. Somebody down there must really want to talk to us if he is beating on this thing with a bar. Gee, wonder who that could be? What are we to do? climb down? I don’t think so. We jumped and were away in the cow fields, I mean gone, safe, they couldn’t catch us if they had tried. Oh yeah, we are waaaay out in the boonies. Oh well let’s go back and see what happens.

A technician from the TV station had come out on that day to do some small work and had spotted us on his way in and called the county sherrif. He pressed charges and we really had nothing to say to the judge that would justify our trespassing. We totally burnt one of the best antennae in the country. We did get a few more at night and in the fog but it is now alarmed and impossible to jump. no stealth… how’s that for a screw-up?

All on the same load…

It’s late ,we’re starting to pack for the 3rd or 4th jump of the night.I decide to snooze a few minutes knowing the others are just getting the packing down and I would be done at the same time even if I pass out 10 or 15 minutes…so I do.

When I wake-up , my brakes had been stowed by someone…(Of course I didn’t double check them) So I finish the pack job and off we go to the local Bridge (380')

I go off first and open on heading,I unstow and pull on the left toggle to go for the LZ but guess what, the canopy goes right ! I look up and see steering lines crossed, not fully understanding what the problem was, I choose to ditch both toggles and fly with the rear risers. I barely make it over the boulders on the shoreline.

I look up to see # 2 go off, Bang ! line-over, he manages to stop the turn and lands it without releasing the toggles.By this time I can’t believe what’s going on,I must be dreaming or something.

I look up again for # 3 and bang ! perfect 180.He’s really slow to turn it around and I could see him lift his feet to barely clear the pedestrian guard rail as he’s flying back out of the structure…

Once on the ground, we all look at each other in disbelief.For all of us, it was the most problems we’ve had to deal with on a jump

We blamed it on on beeing so tired to focus on the job at hand and the packing and the double checks and the….

Too much fun in to little time can bite you

Know when to call it a night

Base # 320

My first tower jump story.

The background: 4 NRGBD jumps and no base jumpers in the area to learn from. I get the sectional, ask a friend to be my ground crew and go tower hunting.

It’s about midnight, we see the tower in the distance but cannot find an access road. No big deal, walking through thorn bushes for an hour with a dead flashlight is a cheap price for fun! Hiking back to the car is much easier, since we know where the road was hiding ;-) Driving in is effortless, but the fear begins its mind-altering work. We park half-way through and walk the rest.

I’m so high on adreanline that climbing 1200' with a big skydiving rig doesn’t bother me a bit. All of a sudden the tower ends with a triangular piece of metal - there is no transmitter! Gearing up takes a while: i’m flying through another universe while my robot-body gets the rig ready. Climbing out feels unreal. It’s a pitch-black moonless night, the wind is howling and i’m standing on top of the world with nothing around me. There are lights in the distance and the rest of this world is Darkness.

I go off and take a healthy 2sec slider-down. My canopy opens perfectly but i cannot see guy wires in the dark. To play safe i fly downwind for a while. When i turn around, the tower is just a needle of lights far, far away. To my surprise i’m still backing up and all i can see below is blackness that covers the forest. Luckily, the grey stripe cutting through the woods floats up as i get lower.

I can make it and happily set my canopy flying along the clearing. Committed to land in the middle, i finally catch a sight that makes me feel unreal for the second time since the exit. Huge power line towers are floating up on both sides, and my canopy brushes the wire before it lands softly in the bushes by one of the towers.

When i get back to the car, my friend wakes up and says “oh, did you jump already?”… Hell yes!

The lessons i’ve learned saved me on countless ocasions, but i have never since had the same feeling: off into the darkness having no idea what it will bring to you… now i know ? ;-)

NRGBD-95 Combat CRW story.

Background: i’ve had about 30 base jumps and just made 3 two-ways with a good friend of mine earlier in the morning.

My friend has decided to stay at the bottom to take some pictures. I run up to the exit point still hyper from 2-ways i’ve just made. There’s another 2-way on the ramp getting ready to go so i ask if they want to make it a 3-way. They agree, we quickly figure out delays (2,3,5), line up and go.

We exit in a line one after another, i step off to the left expecting to be clear and see another jumper (2sec delay) almost directly underneath. I’m slider-up, not much choice… an effort to turn and track looks good but moves me nowhere. The rest is on video… We had a spectacular freefall/canopy collision. I’ve pulled at 6.5sec after going through the canopy and seing pilot chute-fabric-black-sky-river in a weird caleidoscope. The other canopy reinflated with some line twists. No injuries, except for a minor line burn. Life #2… or was it #3 ? ;-)

The lessons: multiple ways are a 3-D art and should be treated as such. Being able to see everybody on exit and in freefall is essential for survival. Some homework and a dirtdive are equally important. Specifically for that jump, we would have been fine if we stayed level. Being next to each other at the same level is ok, what got us was the vertical separation - enough to allow for a full deployment underneath.

Open canopy takes much more space than a freefalling person: 10ft is enough to clear a body but too little to clear what became a canopy. You can never trust a closed rig underneath, even if the jumper won’t deploy before you do. I’ve seen a few premature openings and had one myself. If you are above somebody, having enough horizontal space for an open canopy to go by is a must.

Somebody, whos name i have suddenly forgot ;-) has had a better (dead center!) ff/canopy collision at the same spot a few years later. Maybe he will post his thoughts too ? ;-)

I have been teaching a fellow to BASE jump lately. He has been using my only rig because the South Georgia “Kangaroo Court System” has been screwing me so badly that I can only afford one rig these days. This student is doing really well and has been exhibiting what I consider to be exceptional judgment in what he jumps and in evaluating conditions.

The other day he came up to me as I was packing my pilot chute to be stowed in the pouch in the bottom of my rig and asked if he could do a jump. I said “sure” and since he had been hand holding the pilot chute, I just crammed it into the pouch after the bridle, handed him the packed rig and drove to the bottom to pick him up. After a long hike, he elected not to jump because the wind was not right and he returned the rig to me.

A while later in a great deal of excitement I rushed out to take a large group of whining and bitching people to a site and because of impending darkness and lots of complaining, elected to do a cliff that was closer but had not been done. In the midst of all the bitching and complaining, I dropped a couple of rocks, got about five seconds, gave my gear a cursory check and jumped.

I was in free-fall clawing for the second time for the pilot chute and only managed to pull out and throw the corner of the mess that I had crammed in the pouch earlier. I had totally forgotten that I had not packed it for going stowed. I’m still alive but I have kicked myself again and again for this near-fatal mistake. It is with much embarrassment that I am publicly sharing this with you all but that is the point of all this, isn’t it. We all still have a lot to learn to stay alive. I will never again let that happen to me or anyone around me, if I can help it. Oh, and we named the jump “RUSH JOB”. How appropriate! We all learned a great deal that evening.

I was on the ramp behind this infamous jump. The other guy is a friend of mine. I didn’t know his girlfriend. Anyway, the 5 sec. jumper jumped in his own “corridor” for lack of a better term. The 2 sec. delay jumped directly behind the 3 sec. delay jumper in the same corridor. There was no horizontal separation. The lurker on the jump relied on 1 sec. for separation. They weren’t level with each other. Anyway, that jump arrangement is the worst I have ever seen. It wasn’t a case of lack of execution. It was poor design.

t were on my jump #30the 31sept. 02 I were used to go solo,while im the only jumper in my region.I had got my 29jumps whith in 3 month,and had just experienced to go stowed and slider up(from 900ft) so now i would try to go stowed slider off from 600ft.When i got up there i redesided. i werent ready to go stowed from there anyway so i would go off hand held.

I went off perfect and good onheadding deploy,but my rigth toogle were blown,i had learned to through the oter aswell(but also did it by inctinct)now i had only my risers, i were abit high,so i thourgth i would land head wind under the A,but i didnt think of that my 180 riser turn would put me lower,and that i then were facing trees..I made 90 more and should start to flare.I had never tryed it before so i pulled the risers down aprox 15cm,which resulted in a stall in aprox 6–9ft,i made a plf,but the impact were so hard that i broked my lower leg(find pic under accident),then i made the turn(in my plf) which broke it in the other direction and maked it a open fractur.. I manneged to cut my canopi, but hold on to 1 riser(not much wind but i didnt really felt it were good if i moved)i looked down at my leg,it were dislocated by 90 degree and i could clearly see the bone.

Damnit,i had forgot my cellphone in the car(on the top i had desided to jump anyway),it were parked 300m/900ft away..lucky i had called my gf before i climbed to tell her that i were about to climb 600ft but would call her before i jumped.. i could feel i were bleeding.. ####.. i had to stop it before i got drained, i were thinking of using my belt,but then again.. i then knew i migth would loos the lower leg,so while i layed there in near nato possition i desided to try to see if i could get the leg back in the rigth posistion,i raised my leg and lod it drop down,next thing i rember is that i wake up whith dirt in my face,but the bleeding is stopped and the leg looks like it fits better there(also the bone has gone abit on place(not stitching out so much),next step,dont panic,and dont go in chock.

i roled over to my back.packed the canopi around me,got my climbing glowes on and started to yell “Help”.All this is on video,so i also made a kind of “Blair Which project”to tell about how i felt (dont know why but i did),after 2 hours there came a car,it were my gf and her dad.She had tryed to call me and the rescuestation.She could obisily not reach me,so she knew somthing were wrong(after 1 hour after i started to climb),she then called the rescues,but they didnt belive her,so she called her dad,so they were 2 to find me.When they came i were al clear(i had been 2 hours on a feild which were 13,5 degree C wearing sweatshirt pants and normal gear(and shoes of course).

I asked them to remove all my gear and bring me my Cellphone.I then called the resucers that then came out after aprox 30 min more.It took 20 min to get me into the ambulance,and 30 min to the hospital.I were uncontiuness some times. On hospital i got morphine(damn that #### works:D ) and were told i would need a surgery to get an external fixator.I used it in 6month,whith out luck then they removed it and i healed up just like that.Its now near 8 month ago,and i now are back in buissness again.

Lesson to learn: 1. dont do solos whith out you cellphone on you and have talked to some one just before you jump.

2dont through you remain toogle

3i never jump whith out a flashligth(just a tiny one) and 3 pills of morphin on me again

4 rember to video it,or the docs dont belive you(they need info to treat you rigth,and cant talk to the police,well at least here)

things i were lucky about: 1i survived

2i acted proberly stopped the blodd kept me warm(i had 37,5 degee C by arival at hospi.

3 it were higher up at my leg then i think i would have been dead.

Well here go’s I guess I didn’t have but maybe 20 jumps at the time. We went out to jump a lift bridge over a drained river of sorts. It was a new site for me. My friends had jumped it a couple of times and said no problem. Well it was 160' at exit point and we where doing pca. I was jumping a fox 220. It was a good exit almost a stand up not much of a swing but to my surprise the canopy did not fully inflat. Also the opening was about 10 deg of heading.

It put me over some hard rocky ground and i hit like a sack of ###t. After laying there in pain for a while I was able to get up and hobble under the bridge where i layed down again. My friends had a big debat at the top and then decided to go ahead and jump. There jumps went fine no problem. They where jumping mojo’s.

What did I learn. first if your not sure let your buddy go first, not realy. know the limets of your gear differnt gear has diffrent capabilitys and if your still not sure its better to walk away then to just do it cauz you walked away. and last never jump a fox sub 200' I didn’t get hurt vary bad a sprained ankl and brused my knee I was lucky and thank the base gods for looking out for my stuped unknowing assets. Thanx nick good thread. :7

i was keen to try a slider up off a popular 500ft E…as some of the other crew had done…..a little too eager actually…i had 50 jumps at this stage…i was so keen i turned up & decided to try this slider-up jump into a howling headwind….

anyway…in my keeness to try a low slider-up…despite knowing the possibilities….i even made the famous last words comment…”if i have a offheading left, im screwed”…how prophetic famous last words can be :)

anyway,,,as u would expect to happen jumping sluder up into a headwind, the pilot cute was blown back, & with the slower slider opening pulled the whole canopy into a 170degree so i was heading towards the cliff with a huge tailwind….

somehow my feet just missed the cliff…they were bent expectin impact,,,,,the loss of height came with the sinking sensation that i wouldnt reach the landing area & i ended up landing 25m up in the trees,,,tress so big i could even see the bottom…luckily i got snagged & grabbed hold of a branch,,,,luckily my only injuries were seriously grazed arms & legs from sliding 10m or so down the treetrunk…(great footage with a certain feral dude in plaster doin camera laughin to tears sayin..”he got snagged!)

lessons learned here were:

1/ dont jump slider up for jumps less that 3 1/2 sec as the chance of off heading openins is quite high 2/ dont jump into headwinds, as the chance of an object strike & off heading is quite heigh 3/ sometimes we like to all push the limits, but beware that if a jump doesnt include time for dealing with offheadings etc, an overdelay can put one in dire circumstances & big trees if u r lucky to have them as an out as opposed to nastier stuff like the pebbly/boulder landing areas that broke bones ….maybe i didnt learn this lesson cause a deliberate over delay off a 650ft waterfall cause an offheading left which meant i could not hit the small 10ft landing area, & took the alternative smashing my elbow in 100bits on a car size boulder….either way…be honest to yourself about consequences of decisions you makes

My life is an essay in ambition and I’ve lived thus far by pushing the envelope a little further than perhaps is wise, although the stakes have never been so high. When ambition is an addiction one’s judgement becomes scalene and clouded.

After making: 2 E jumps 4 A jumps 1 S jump

I was determined to claim my “B” and earn my BASE number. However, instead of planning that task in the most sane manner and travelling to a city with access to a decent “B”, or better yet realizing the project was exceptionally dangerous and could wait, I made my way to the local Portland “B” (all 180ft of it, with a required 90 left turn, landing on a narrow cement area, with no outs) for my eighth jump.

Warnings and advice regarding experience, ability, and sanity were heard and taken into account by an individual who was going to jump anyways. And I ended up at the exit point and jumped.

I ended up stalling the canopy and flaring into a tree in a way that let me grab the trunk, shimmy down, while carefully extracing my parachute as I raced down and ran away before the authorities noticed anything was amiss.

I not only survived, I walked away completely uninjured. I earned my BASE number, and since then have taken a more mellow approach to my jumping. Looking back, if I had it to do over again, I would trust my own judgement more if I’d held back on this particular jump. It was my biggest BASE mistake.

My first season in Norway.

Experience : 112 skydives , 2 wingsuit skydives , 120 base jumps , 4 base wingsuit flights .

Gear : Perigee Pro , Mojo 240 and a pilot chute made by a local skydive company……….short pants and tee shirt .

Attitude : No worries bru .

I had had three 180's in a row off exit 6 , Space watched them and said I should check that my bridal was centred to the pilotchute because this was causeing occilations of the pilot chute and hence the 180's, he didnt know that I was jumping a pilotchute not made by a base company , I had to jump this pilot chute as I was waiting for my order to be sent to Norway . Okay , no worries , centred the pilotchute and went up to Smellies exit 2 . While my Swedish friends Perflare and Mika were gearing up the new jumpers that had come up with them I exited , watched my freefall and pulled about 6/8 seconds into the jump ( to make the landing area at the camp ground ) A solid 180 , cliff strike and I cant remember anything after that .

I belive that I was on my risers to avoid the strike because Mika told me that after they heard the strike they saw my canopy fly out over the fijord with broken up end cells . Well it seems that I held onto the riser because I flew back into the cliff , stike and back away , strike and back away to the bottom . Mika jumped and came to look for me , Stien and the local guys carried me to a helicopter and so on to hospital in Stavanger .

Result : A couple of bruises to body , smashed up teeth , brain hemorage , coma for two days and lost the sight in my right eye because of bone fragments that were pushed back into my head .

It took nine months before I could start jumping again .

Lesson learned : Use base specific gear . Centre your pilot chute . ALWAYS jump with a helmet.

My biggest mistake was evaluating an exit point at night, basically I was too complacent. To add my complacency on that jump, I under estimated the wet exit point.

So all in all, it was a night jump on an unfamiliar 250ft building while it was sprinkling rain. To make a long story short… My exit turned into unplanned aerials and I ended up slamming in on the building that I exited from on the fifth floor storage area. So the jump that was 250ft probably turned out to be 200ft jump… And if that wasn’t bad enough, I hit about a second after my canopy inflated. So all in all, I’m lucky to be here… Total cost of that jump… Two nights in the hospital = $6,000+ dollars… Stupidity = Priceless

Submitted by admin on 2007-06-18 | Last Modified on 2007-07-03

Rating: 12345   Go Login to rate this article.  | Votes: 6 | Comment: 1 | Views: 9317

Liked this article? Like us on Facebook and we'll let you know when we have more.

Like Us on Facebook

1 Comment CommentAdd a Comment

 More ArticlesArticle RatingsArticle CommentsProfile
Admin Down Under with 2 broken legs. I suspect that you need a 20 mph airspeed or so to make a ram airfoil parachute fly. On a 120' jump with a 10-20 mph tail wind flowing over the trailing edge of your ram air as it was trying to establish aerodynamic flight you just didnt have enough airspeed due to your tail wind. Just a thought thats all, skys call, why fall

Add a Comment