A 30-year-old woman who was skydiving Saturday survived a plunge of over 5,000 feet when both of the parachutes she was wearing failed to open.
The incident happened near Trois-Rivières, Quebec, where the unnamed woman was participating in a jump with the skydiving facility Parachutisme Adrénaline, CBC reported.
The women landed on trees in a wooded area, and that is reportedly what saved her life. Police said she suffered several fractures, including broken vertebrae, but her life was not in danger. She is being treated for her injuries in an area hospital.
Onlookers watched in astonishment as the woman plummeted through the sky.
Denis Demers said the woman was falling faster than the other divers.
“It’s a miracle,” he said in an interview with Radio-Canada, per CBC.
“I don’t know how a person can survive a fall from an airplane like that.”
Océane Duplessis was about to board a plane to participate in another jump when she noticed the woman’s parachute’s were not operating.
“We watched all the way to the end. We kept hoping something would happen,” she said. “We were very worried. Very.”
It is estimated that the woman fell over 5,000 feet. Putting that into perspective, a mile is 5,280 feet. Furthermore, she was falling at a fast rate of speed. The United States Parachute Association claims that skydivers can hit speeds of about 109 miles per hour while free falling, CBC reported.
A skydiver whose main parachute and backup failed to open is recovering in hospital with several fractures, including broken vertebrae, but police say her life is not in danger. https://t.co/xp7RUsV9Ne
— CBC News (@CBCNews) August 15, 2019
Such accidents are reportedly rare. The USPA recorded 13 fatal skydiving accidents out of around 3.3 million jumps in the U.S. in 2018. The organization said that number was the lowest in the sport’s history. Since 2013, there were 21 to 24 deaths per year, which comes to about one death for every 253,669 jumps.
Nancy Koreen, director of sports promotion for the USPA told CBC that saying that a parachutes failed to open was “pretty vague and often not correct,” adding that if parachutes are not opened at the correct altitude, they may not have enough time to deploy.
Koreen also said that the opening of parachutes must go in a particular order. Jumpers must open the main parachute first, and if it does not deploy, then the backup parachute must be opened. It must be done in this order so the chutes do not become tangled.
The woman who fell had experience with skydiving, and authorities are investigating the case to determine if criminal negligence was involved, the Trois-Rivières police said, per CBC.