Parachutist dies after jump

2009-10-21 13:01

Cape Town - A 33-year-old Capetonian died on Tuesday after a weekend parachuting accident, the Parachute Association said on Wednesday.

The association's safety and training representative Mark Bellinghan said Sean Newkirk was doing his second static line jump on Saturday when the accident occurred.

A static line jump is when beginners have their parachutes automatically opened when they leap from the aircraft.

"While positioning for the exit outside the aircraft, the reserve parachute deployed and pulled Sean from the aircraft. The static line then activated the main parachute, as it is designed to do. This resulted in two open parachutes," Bellinghan said.


According to initial witness accounts, and from an initial equipment inspection, the main parachute was jettisoned at some point. However, part of the main parachute and Newkirk's leg became entangled.

The drag from the jettisoned main parachute pulling on his leg resulted in him landing in a more horizontal position than the desired vertical or standing position. A doctor was first on the scene and a club member with paramedic experience also tried to help him.

He died in Cape Town on Tuesday.

Bellinghan will investigate the circumstances of the accident for the Civil Aviation Authority.

In a separate accident on Sunday, a 36-year-old paraglider fell to his death in Nigel, Gauteng when his safety chute failed to open.