A daring mid-air rescue saved the life of a British paratrooper when his parachute failed to open during a display jump. The paratrooper is a member of the famed British paratrooper group, The Red Devils.
Corporal Wayne Shorthouse, 32, performed the daring mid-air rescue after his teammate Corporal Mike French, 34, became tangled in his parachute on descent. Shorthouse quickly grabbed French’s parachute and the two glided down together to land safely after the jump.
Thousands of spectators watched as the two parachutists floated to the ground at the Whitehaven Air Show in Cumbria, North-West England. The two parachutists are members of the British Army’s free fall parachute display squad.
In the Sydney Morning Herald, French said that he owed his mate a pint of beer.
“It is all part of being in the skydiving world. It is a very dangerous sport. Display parachuting, and especially canopy formations within display parachuting, is a very very difficult aspect of skydiving. Constantly training is one of the things that kept us (safe) and the communication.”
As previously reported by Inquisitr, a mid-air collision in Florida resulted in the death of a skydiver. In that sky diving accident, one person was killed at SkyDive DeLand. The sky diver who died had a seizure shortly before the accident.
Anxious onlookers watched while French violently kicked to get free of the parachute prior to the mid-air rescue. The army stated that this is the first time in 25 years that there has been a parachute failure. Thanks to the quick thinking of Shorthouse during the daring mid-air rescue, French avoided spending the night in the hospital.
The maneuver they were performing when the accident happened is called a “stack.” This is where one jumper is directly under another. The two teammates were at around 18,000 feet when the accident occurred and French’s chute began to collapse, reports the Telegraph UK.
Shorthouse quickly wrapped his legs around the collapsing parachute and held onto French until they reached the ground. French realized the moment the two teammates became entangled.
“As soon as I’d made contact with Wayne I looked up and saw my parachute was wrapped around him, but the training then kicked in. I looked for an area to land and shouted up to Wayne because he had a good parachute, and we guided ourselves down into the harbour.”
Corporal French credits their training as the reason the mid-air rescue was successful.
“It hits afterwards when you’re having a laugh and a joke. It could have been a lot worse but the training that we do as members of the parachute regiment and British Army means we know what to do. We had a giggle about it and then went for pies peas and a pint.”
The Parachute Regiment Band tweeted their relief after the successful mid-air rescue and were glad the parachutists were OK.
— Parachute Regt Band (@PARA_Band) June 20, 2015
[Photo Credit Sydney Morning Herald]