Parachute fails in skydive scare

TWO skydivers had a close call high over Ballina yesterday when their main parachute failed during a tandem jump.

The experienced instructor managed to cut the first chute away and successfully open the reserve chute, setting the pair up for a safe landing at Kingsford Smith Park, near the Missingham Bridge.

The inexperienced jumper was a paying passenger who was reportedly not worried throughout the incident and said he would do it again.

The first chute landed in the water near North Wall, sending emergency services into action.

Police were quickly on the scene and the Ballina Jetboat Rescue was dispatched, but was soon recalled once police est-ablished there was no danger.

Ballina Jetboat Rescue captain Garry Meredith said the skydiving company would usually notify him when they were jumping.

A spokeswoman for the skydiving company confirmed everyone was okay and said the park was their usual landing spot which they had been using for years.

She said this was the first time a chute had failed like this.

“The guy who was jumping with him loved it,” she said.

“The line was a bit twisted and (the instructor) had to cut it loose, but the reserve went up without fail.

“The only bad thing is they're trying to fish a $4000 parachute out of the ocean.

“Last I heard they were having trouble getting to it because of the big swell, so I think the guys are planning to go down there tonight, watch the sunset, and see if it washes in. It's worth too much money to lose.”


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