When skydiving goes very wrong: Pensioner, 80, left hanging by a thread in terrifying tumble after instructor pushes reluctant adrenalin junkie from plane
Laverne, 80, can be seen shouting “no!” as she leaps out of the planePensioner nearly falls out of her harness as it comes loose while hurtling towards ground at 125mphTwo people have died in similar incidents in the U.S., the British Parachute Association say
A sky-diving pensioner who refused to get out of the plane was left hanging precariously from her instructor as a tandem dive went dangerously wrong.
The 80-year-old desperately tried to cling onto the door after apparently deciding she no longer wanted to do the jump.
As her harness came loose the woman, named Laverne, was left dangling from her instructor as she hurtled towards the ground at 125mph.
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“Stop”: The woman, 80, appears to yell “no” as she tries to avoid jumping out of the plane in California
Tumble: With the woman dangling from the skydiver they plummet towards the ground in California
In the dramatic video, the woman”s tandem diver can be seen clinging onto her safety harness which had slipped down her legs during the jump in California.
As they plummet towards the ground, the woman”s top flies up exposing her back to the high-speed winds.
The cameraman – a separate jumper filming the whole experience – comes over to help as the pair get into difficulties.
Just before the jump happened, the woman appears to yell “no!” – telling her instructor to stop her getting out of the aircraft.
It was her first skydive, which she had been planning for a decade, she says on the video which was published on TheChive.com.
Tony Butler, technical officer at the British Parachute Association, said the pensioner could easily have slipped out of the harness.
High spirits: Laverne, 80, the tandem skydiver, said it was her first ever jump as she is filmed before take-off. She said she had been planning the leap for a decade
Smiling: Laverne looks at the camera as the plane makes it ascent in preparation for the jump
“She was very close to slipping out,” he said. “You can see from the video the instructor was trying to get to the harness and cling on to it. The person with the video camera was also trying to help.
“It looks that she is a pretty frail and light woman which would have helped.”
“At the start of the clip she is reluctant to jump and they were in a bad position with her holding onto the door frame as they left the plane.
“Things like this have happened in the United States before and there have been two fatalities.
Struggle: After making the ascent, the woman apparently decided she did not want to make the jump which she had been planning for the last decade
Jump: With the woman appearing to resist, she plunges out of the plane. A British Parachute expert said the problems started because they were in the wrong position when they left the aircraft
“There has never been a similar incident in Britain, and safety checks here are a lot more rigorous.”
He added that the light-aircraft would have been travelling at around 70mph as the divers exited the aircraft.
He said that in Britain, if a skydiver wants to pull out at the last minute the plane should return them to the ground and they should not be made to leap out.
At the end of the video the woman can be seen on the ground apparently uninjured but is seen being given some careful attention. Even the instructor is traumatised and has to be consoled by a colleague.
Parachute jump: The woman, 80, and her tandem diver leap from the plane over California. Shortly after leaving the aircraft, they would have been travelling at 125mph
Descent: The separate parachute jumper videoing the jump captures the moment they tumble out of the aircraft
Difficulties: The tandem skydivers hold on to each other as they fall towards the sun-scorched Californian earth
Comforting: The instructor, left, and the woman jumper, 80, right, are helped after they made a successful and safe-landing in California
Video: The woman leaps two minutes into the footage