West Virginia's Bridge Day Parachute Jumper Seriously Hurt
West Virginia celebrates Bridge Day, which it describes as, "What's wilder, what's more wonderful, than jumping off one of the largest bridges in the world? The people of the Mountain State can celebrate like few others can." The event is the "largest extreme sports event in the world," drawing hundreds of BASE jumpers and up to 80,000 spectators. Jumps are performed from 9am to 3pm.
This year, however, a man was seriously injured when he jumped off of the New River Gorge Bridge- and his parachute failed to open. The man's wind suit slowed him down, but officials say he still hit the water going 60mph. He is currently in the hospital, having sustained a broken pelvis, and spinal and lung injuries.
When someone is injured in a parachuting accident, there is a chance he/she can hold a number of individuals liable. These include but are not limited to:
- Training center
- Manufacturer of the parachute
- Recreation company
- Retailer of the parachute
- Owner of the property where the jump occurred
In 2004, 21 people died due to parachuting. In reality, however, there is only an average of 30 deaths in every 100,000 jumps- less than scuba diving which has a rate of 47 deaths per 100,000 exercises. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the most common errors that have caused accidents since 1980 have included:
- Inadequate aircraft inspection and maintenance
- Pilot performance deficiencies- improper preflight inspections, weight and balance calculations and emergency and recovery procedures
- Inadequate FAA oversight and direct surveillance of parachute operations
LiveStrong provides a good list of "skydiving safety rules" on its website. These include: agree on the exact jump order with your group in advance, know where the rip cord for the reserve parachute is before jumping, maneuver out of traffic and yield the right of way to lower parachutes, minimize your turns, don't look down because you will brace for landing which can result in broken legs.