Monday, April 02, 2012

Skydiver may have brain damage after botched jump

A skydiver was left with possible brain injuries after apparently landing on his head in a botched jump near Parakai Airfield, northwest of Auckland, yesterday. 

The man, aged in his 50s and thought to be from South Auckland, was flown to Auckland City Hospital in a serious condition after the 11.30am accident. 

Westpac rescue helicopter crewman Mark Cannell said the man was skydiving when he missed the landing zone at Parakai Airfield and landed in a paddock several hundred metres away. 

The man had reportedly landed on his head, with rescue crews arriving to find him suffering serious injuries. 

"At that stage he had a severely altered level of consciousness and we were querying a traumatic brain injury along with other associated neck injuries, internal injuries, fractures etcetera." 

The man also had signs of facial trauma and severe concussion. 

"He talked but the responses that he was giving us at the time were completely inappropriate to what we were asking." 

The man landed around 10 metres from a line of trees which "had potential to complicate matters" while the soft paddock appeared to have provided some cushion. 

"The paddock was reasonably soft underfoot which may have helped. There had been stock in the paddock so it was quite rough," Cannell said. 

Airfield manager Simon Lockie said the man was an experienced skydiver who had recorded around 8000 jumps. 

Lockie said the man was a sports skydiver and they normally jumped together in groups of between two and six before separating once they pulled their cords. 

Skydivers higher than him saw his landing and raised the alarm. 

"They just thought that it didn't look like a good landing so they sent people over to investigate." 

The incident is the second reported injury suffered by a skydiver in Auckland recently. 

Graeme Bull was left with a broken femur after crash landing at Eden Park during the Warriors match against Manly in June. 

Skydiving was also in the news last week when skydiving operator Aaron Marriott revealed his plans to take his two-year-old son Elijah skydiving, though he changed his mind after public fallout.


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