Skydiver falls 20000ft, both chutes fail, lives. Video

This is just an amazing video to watch. It’s not gross or gruesome. Just amazing.

There’ve been stories about similar happenings in the past. The most famous is probably the one about the RAF gunner, who jumped out of a burning Lancaster and fell 18,000 feet. His impact was slowed by tree branches, and cushioned by snow on the ground. His injuries were scratches, bruises, and a sprained leg.

But this is the first one caught on film, I’d imagine.

He fell 12k, not 18.

— Alan

Do you normally spin that violently when falling during a skydive? Because that’s really creepy, and I have no idea why someone would do that voluntarily.

You do if you don’t hold your limbs out. Early divers used to lose consciousness while spinning which, given the fate he expected, may have been his intention…

Another one that comes to mind is a stewardess who survived a fall from 33,000 feet. Wiki entry

Ralph Fiennes will not be refused! I hadn’t heard about this story, but that is amazing.

Alan: The gunner I was talking about was Nick Alkemade, and the accounts that pop up on Google measure the fall at 5,500m or 18,000ft. Are you thinking of the same guy, or is there a contradictory version of this story?

Technically she ride a wreck down, she didn’t fall. Piddling distinction but it’s there.

I think he was spinning violently because of the way his chute was tangled. It did deploy, you can see it when they cut to the view from his buddy’s cam above, but it got all tangled in itself somehow.

Yeah, I noticed that when watching the second video. They said his chute didn’t open, so I assumed it didn’t come out. It came out, but didn’t “catch air” (maybe “open” is skydiver specific meaning that the chute does not catch air and arrest the fall).

His primary chute deployed. That is the little chute used to pull out the main. Obviously the main was on holiday.

Yeah his main canopy deployed it looks like. What MRUS is referring to is called the pilot chute. It looks like it deployed in a big mess with lines tangled all over the place. Don’t know why he couldn’t just pull his reserve - for all I know he may have. Normally the act of pulling the reserve chute physically cuts away your main chute but it’s not unheard for for it to all just get tangled up.

Also this article has more details:

Read the article; the quick-release for the main didn’t work and he decided at the last seconds to deploy the reserve anyway.

I was referring to this guy falling from 12k, not 18k.

— Alan

“Are you okay?”


Any more dumb questions? ;)

Done, but with errors on page.


Ack, seeing the shadow come toward you so fast, then the THUD CRACK sound, and then a low groan. Jesus.

Speaking of falling out of the sky, I just recently read about Project Excelsior, where Joe Kittinger went up over 100,000 feet in a helium attached to a tiny gondola, and jumped out of the thing. That was actually his third attempt, where on the ascent his pressure suit malfunctioned, and his hand swelled up to nearly twice it’s normal size. On his first attempt, there was some sort of failure that made him lose consciousness as he fell, going into a spin where he felt forces twenty-two times greater than gravity. He set all sorts of records, highest jump, longest free fall (four minutes), breaking the speed of sound, or at least going transonic.

There’s a great YouTube mini-documentary about his jumps, and a great Boards of Canada video that uses the footage of his final jump. Watch the music video first, it’s amazing when you’re not actually sure what is going on.

Wow it’s a freakin’ music video - I didn’t realize that until I was halfway into the surfing sequence thinking… what the hell? He is so high up… all the inky blackness above him. Crap that’s high. Looking on the Wiki page there’s an image of Life magazine of that jump where he’s doing the initial fall and you see the rows of clouds beneath him - that’s an awesome shot.

— Alan

I just love when he’s spinning and you see the sun, but all you really see is a small part of it or something.

Obviously that’s not him surfing, but it is a cool what-if.

It’s a very cool transition (Kittinger was over desert); the surfer is the famous Laird Hamilton. Thanks for the link.

Yeah where’s spinning at one point I think you can see the balloon very briefly in space.

— Alan