A man survived a skydiving accident at the Salmon Arm Airport on Sunday afternoon.
In a message to the Observer, Rick Scott, from Skydive Salmon Arm confirmed the incident and says the man involved was taken to hospital in Kelowna but is expected to make a full recovery.
“I would like to let you know that one of our highly experienced jumpers was injured today,” writes Scott. “He had a main parachute malfunction but his reserve parachute saved his life; however, he sustained a broken pelvis from a hard landing.”
At approximately 12:30 p.m., Oct. 29, BC Ambulance was called out and a medical airlift was requested for an incident involving a skydiver.
An Observer reporter on the scene witnessed one patient being transported by ambulance from the south end of the airport to the terminal building, where the air ambulance helicopter was waiting. The helicopter took off heading south towards Kelowna.
Scott says he is thankful for the community’s concern over the incident. On Sunday evening, Scott spoke to the injured man, who has more than 700 jumps under his belt, and was told he will be having surgery on Monday.
Scott says skydivers occasionally do have to deploy their reserve chute and most land safely but, in this case, the man’s reserve chute became partially tangled with the main parachute. The reserve chute slowed the man’s fall, but it was still a hard enough landing to cause the broken pelvis.
While saying he did not want to downplay the incident, Scott says skydiving is a highly regulated sport with an emphasis on training and safety for participants.
“It’s not as dangerous as people thing it is. It is just because we jump out of airplanes that it seems sensational, but more people get seriously hurt downhill mountain biking or in motocross. If someone gets hurt like that in those sports, you don’t see it making headlines,” he says. “Fishing actually kills more people than any other sport on Earth.”
Staff Sgt. Scott West of the Salmon Arm RCMP says the incident was reported to them and police do not believe this is a criminal event.
This incident took place on what was scheduled to be SkyDive Salmon Arm’s last day this season’s operation, which generally runs from April until the end of October.
“Don’t you know it – it was the last jump of the last day of the season,” Scott says.