Freak accident injured 14 parachutists: SANDF

2011-10-01 22:47

Johannesburg - Fourteen parachutists were injured during a mass jump at an airshow at the Waterkloof Air Force Base on Saturday, the SA National Defence Force said.

"It was a freak accident and we don't know what caused it," spokesperson Colonel Petrus Motlhabane said in a statement.

He said four of the parachutists were seriously injured and were airlifted to 1 Military Hospital where their conditions were stable.

Ten others suffered minor injuries and were also taken to hospital.

All were released from hospital later in the day.

Motlhabane said the injured were members of 44 Parachute Battalion.

He said a board of inquiry would be convened.

The airshow was being held to showcase preparations for the Africa Aerospace and Defence exhibition being held in September next year.

  • mundu.olewega - 2011-10-01 23:12

    Mazamabane can't jump. Major fail SANDF.

      Nunya - 2011-10-02 08:58

      Freak???....yes, the freaks in charge of the laughable circus they call an army...

      Boeretroos - 2011-10-02 14:01

      Sorry anyone got hurt though remember guys - Pull the chord!

      Chuck - 2011-10-02 15:08

      Gone are the days when Africa & the planet viewed the SADF as a lean, mean military machine capable of thrashing all-comers who dared to darken our doorstep & in its place stands an SANDF steeped in the debacle that was Lesotho, submarines on bricks, dodgy arms deals. The old SADF was a proud, disciplined fighting machine that carried out its mission with pride & honour. As a young officer who commanded national servicemen at one time, I look back on those young men with immense pride. They never gave me any reason to doubt their loyalty to their army, their mission or their comrades. When they left after their 2-year service, they are the ones that built the dams, motorways, bridges, hospitals, schools and so on – vital infrastructure that has since been left to be eroded away due to neglect & lack of maintenance. Young officers & NCOs (18 - 19year-olds) took their sections, platoons & companies to war & they never lost a battle or ran away. Whether fighting a counter-insurgency war, a semi-conventional war, a guerrilla war or urban warfare, the SADF stood its ground & consistently attained its mission. Over a 23-year period of combat, the SADF suffered 613 members killed in action. Cuba suffered more than 2,300 killed in action over a 12-year period. Angolan, SWAPO and ANC casualties have never been made known. Yet, the ANC now wishes to claim that it defeated the SADF … but, perhaps they may have a point: they certainly destroyed it when they came to power.

      morena - 2011-10-02 16:24

      mundu and nunya go take them on and see how laughble that will be

      morena - 2011-10-02 16:25

      mundu i think its time you packed your bags back to that hell hole nigeria

  • africanwolf - 2011-10-01 23:39

    maybe they had backpacks with food instead of parachutes

  • Kiwiboer - 2011-10-02 06:49

    Okay Hang on. I'm in total agreement about the general degridation of the South African economy, politics, standards, trade etc. but I think with this one we should wate to see what the problem actually was before we start stating the usual obvious. It could have been anything.

  • Fanie - 2011-10-02 07:34

    you lazy news 24 reporters - this is nearly word for word the same article as earlier

  • Madoqua - 2011-10-02 07:40

    I think they will find that it was a bad call to allow this non-essential jump in high and gusty wind conditions. Don't blame the parachutists, blame the commanding officer for allowing the jump.

      slowysa - 2011-10-03 09:24

      I agree with you madoqua.I was there and saw that the wind was too gusty just as they started to jump and also,I think they were too low to the ground in such poor weather although they were trained jumpers.The person who made they call to jump,was at fault.During the rest of the day,there were more jumpers and none got hurt.

  • muttlet - 2011-10-02 07:55

    It will be interesting to see what the wind speed and direction was at jump time. When I went through airborne school in the US army, there were strict guidelines for when you could jump. The guideline could be relaxed during time of war. The factors that needed to be considered were many fold. What was the jump altitude? What was the different wind speed at multiple levels of decent? Was there a strong cross wind on the LZ? Were they simulating a combat jump with all their gear? (This would alter the calculations for all the above). What surface were they jumping onto, ie soft grass, tarmac, etc. Were the jumpmasters qualified to supervise their sticks? Was there a rehearsal prior to the jump? Who packed the chutes? How long since the chutes have been inspected for serviceability? just acouple of questions I would ask off the top of my head?

      Gpurs - 2011-10-02 12:02

      I'm still trying to find out if it was the 1st jump of the day that this incident happened. We watched 2 Hercs dropping guys on static lines from +-1000 feet and it didn't look like it went smoothly. There was a bit of a wind and we saw a few guys get tangled but all their chutes appeared to be fully deployed and we thought they were okay. Some of them landed on tarmac, others on grass. I'm no expert and I'm not even sure if that's when the guys got injured but we saw some paramedics that headed towards them shortly after they landed. In 2003 I saw a similar jump at AAD where one of the parachutists died after his chute collapsed when the guy jumping behind him collided with his canopy. Again, I'm no expert but to me it seemed that on both occasions the guys were just exiting the plane too close together.

      slowysa - 2011-10-03 09:25

      yes gpurs,they jumped at about 08:00 so it was the first jump of the day.

      Butterfly - 2011-10-03 09:50

      I was there as well and I thought that the Parabats were quite brave to jump with the wind speed. On ground level it felt that the wind was just too strong, still thought that it might be an accident waiting to happen. Not worth playing with people's lives just for the show! Get well soon guys!

  • branden.hart - 2011-10-02 08:11

    I was amazed to see so many aircraft in the air at once during the show, I thought we only had two trained pilots ... Thanks to Zimbabwe and Swaziland for the loan of their air force personnel.

  • Carel - 2011-10-02 09:13

    AFRICA ?????

  • muttlet - 2011-10-02 09:25

    Englishboer, do not cloud the issue with race. I have seen just as many white officers relieved of command as black. It is about getting to the heart of the matter. What procedures were in place and whether those in positions of responsibility deviated from those procedures. If there are no procedures then that is a structural issue.

      EnglishBoer - 2011-10-02 12:46

      Yes white officers were relieved of command due to affirmative action. Exactly why this happened.

  • louisdiemasjien - 2011-10-02 10:58

    ETD + 100% pass rate. We have to love the SANDF. Whoop Whoop!!

  • Kuifie - 2011-10-02 11:05

    I am so glad SA is not at war with another country...

      Hilberry - 2011-10-02 15:31

      ja, we would be shooting each other instead of the enemy !

  • Me - 2011-10-02 13:05

    as Gpurs said "We watched 2 Hercs dropping guys on static lines from +-1000 feet and it didn't look like it went smoothly. There was a bit of a wind and we saw a few guys get tangled but all their chutes appeared to be fully deployed and we thought they were okay. Some of them landed on tarmac, others on grass. ... we saw some paramedics that headed towards them shortly after they landed." It was announced later on that the men were fine except for some scrapes and bruises, and this has really been blown out of proportion for sensationalism... What was far more interesting is that the entire airshow was a brilliant success (well scheduled and full of interesting displays of piloting skill and mock battles). It drew huge crowds for a reason. Also, if you believe that this had something to do with race, or the "freaks in charge" you really don't know what you are talking about, and should move to America, where ignorance is accepted.

  • neill.powell - 2011-10-04 17:20

    Firstly, I was there, so before anyone carries on making remarks about what was, what isn't and what should be, let's take a moment to actually read the article; there was an accident. Full stop. This was for the public, and the public had an amazing time, waiting 40 minutes in a queue for a cold hot-dog was a minor glitch in comparison to what we were given as an experience. let's not forget how effectively the Americans end up have a few accidents every year with their shows, are you going to make fun of them too...? PS, the SANDF are unfortunately, our only line of defense, and they work damn hard at it. I saw the quiet faces after the accident, I saw how worried certain personnel were about people's opinions on this...If you are going to criticize the military..make sure you have all the facts an not just what you read in opinionated newspapers...PPS: all newspapers are opinionated.

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