An experienced skydiver and a first-time student plummeted 35 feet to the ground and slammed into a parked car in a parachuting accident this week.
The two were parachuting tandem Sunday when the parachute lost lift, dropping them into the parking lot of the Weeping Water airport, about 40 feet from the planned drop zone.
They were taken to the Bellevue Medical Center, one by helicopter and one by ambulance, authorities say. Chuck Crinklaw, an instructor at Lincoln Sport Parachute Club, said the two people have cuts on the face from broken glass and some bruising, but no broken bones. The names of the two people injured in the accident were not released.
“At the last minute, the instructor did his best to turn the student so he did not hit the vehicle,” Crinklaw said. “Both hit the side of the vehicle on their left side, rather than face first.”
So what caused the accident?
Crinklaw said it was the perfect storm of conditions. It could have been the wind coming out of the south, or the heat rolling off of the corn, or turbulence coming off of the landscape.
“When you hit a pocket of air that is less dense or more dense than others, you either sink or rise,” Crinklaw said. “They probably hit a pocket of air that caused them to lose a little bit of lift and miss their landing area.”
In a tandem jump, a certified instructor — one who has completed a minimum of 500 jumps — is attached to the student by four connection points. The instructor controls the landing.
Crinklaw called the botched landing a fluke.
“Accidents happen every day,” he said. “I would not let people go up if it was unsafe. Just to have this happen was an extremely rare occurrence.”
As for the student, Crinklaw said he was on the mend and preparing for the next jump.
“He is ready to do it again as soon as he feels better,” Crinklaw said. “Hopefully he will come back out.”