“This skydiver with around 50-ish jumps had incorrectly routed his chest strap, resulting in the chest strap coming undone in freefall.”
Sketchy skydiving moment caught on camera as a dude with “50-ish jumps” incorrectly routed the chest strap on his parachute and it ended up coming loose and flapping in the wind mid freefall. Luckily an experienced instructor alerted the man and he grabbed the strap, deployed his chute and made it to ground safely. Goes without saying but being ultra meticulous when it comes to putting on a parachute is super important. Read a full breakdown and lessons learned below:
This skydiver with around 50-ish jumps had incorrectly routed his chest strap, resulting in the chest strap coming undone in freefall. Fortunately, another jumper in the group– a Tandem Instructor with over 3,000 jumps – noticed the chest strap flapping in the wind; the TI grabbed his friend to show him that the chest strap was undone. After he realized what was going on, the jumper grabbed onto the strap, deployed his main canopy and landed safely without further incident.
WHY DID IT HAPPEN:
Incorrect Routing The jumper had incorrectly routed his chest strap. He failed to go around the friction adapter and then back under it. That routing is what allows friction to be created by the pressure of the adapter pressing the strap against the square ring. Physical Gear Check Fail As part of his gear check, the jumper was grabbing both the under and over part of the strap and pulling against the hardware. This felt secure because – by holding both parts of the strap – his grip was preventing any movement. Visual Gear Check Fail The black hardware on a black strap made for very little contrast, making it more difficult for the jumper, and his buddies, to see that there was a misrouted chest strap.
HOW COULD IT BE PREVENTED:
Proper Self-Gear Checks
Misrouting typically happens one of two ways:
The jumper just routes the strap between the friction adapter and the square ring, or the jumper routes the strap around the friction adapter but not back between it and the square ring.
In either case, if they slide their hand or fingers under the straps – don’t grab onto them – and just push away from their chest, the fact that friction is not being created will make it obvious that the strap was not routed properly.
Proper Buddy-Gear Checks
The black hardware made the mistake harder to see but that’s not an excuse. When you’re checking your buddy, you need to get hands on their equipment and physically check that it’s good to go.