Monday, March 21, 2016

Lack of training, parachute failure causes of Gatineau skydiving accident: report

GO Skydive instructor Carolyne Breton

Ottawa - An unusual parachute failure and insufficient instructor training were the causes behind a near-fatal July 2015 skydiving accident near Gatineau, a report has found.  

The July 8 accident near the Gatineau-Ottawa Executive Airport put 22-year-old GO Skydive instructor Carolyne Breton and her student, a 45-year-old man, in hospital. 

The tandem jump they attempted starts at 13,000 feet, then has a 45-second free-fall before the parachute is deployed at 5,000 feet. 

A failure with the reserve canopy caused them to come crashing down in a field next to the company’s facilities.

Breton suffered bone fractures and a severe concussion while her passenger, whose name has not been released, suffered life-threatening injuries.  

Breton and her passenger had about 49 seconds of free-fall before Breton released the main canopy, then the reserve canopy was automatically released, according to the accident report by the Standards Commission, equity, health and safety (CNESST). 

An issue with the reserve canopy caused the pair to descend in a spiral at a faster speed than normal. 

Breton tried but was unable to straighten the trajectory of the parachute and regain control. 

Breton asked her male passenger to lift his legs so that she alone would absorb the shock of their landing.

The report lists the causes of the accident as a failure with the reserve parachute, which caused the downward spiral and uncontrolled landing, and a deficiency in training for emergency situations for instructors. 

The skydiving school is a member of the Canadian Sport Parachuting Association (CSPA) and the United States Parachute Association (USPA). It follows the rules and regulations of skydiving set out by the CSPA and the equipment manufacturing company, United Parachute Technologies (UTP). 

Original article can be found here:

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