Man killed in parachute accident

Dr Nick FosterDr Nick Foster said his team were airborne within two minutes of the emergency call

One man has died and another is in hospital with serious injuries after a skydiving accident in Cambridgeshire.

The men are believed to have collided 50ft (15m) above the ground, causing their parachutes to collapse, while skydiving on Saturday afternoon.

A man in his 50s was declared dead at the scene, at Sibson near Peterborough.

A second man, aged in his 20s, was taken by air ambulance to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge with spine and leg injuries.

Magpas Helimedix medical charity said the man was in a stable condition when he arrived at the hospital in its air ambulance.

Magpas said its thoughts were with the family and friends of the man who died.

It said it believed the men had jumped separately and were not skydiving in tandem.

‘Perfect conditions’

Dr Nick Foster of Magpas said his team was airborne within two minutes of the emergency call and arrived 15 minutes later.

He said one of the skydivers was in cardiac arrest and bystanders and ambulance staff were trying to revive him.

“We added some advanced procedures to try to save him. Unfortunately, they were not successful,” he said.

“The second casualty had very nasty lower limb fractures and a spinal injury and received a pre-hospital sedation in order for us to get his legs straight and then a general anaesthetic to transport him to Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

“How you land is critical to the injuries you receive. The gentlemen with leg injuries was fortunate to have landed on his feet and absorbed the impact through his long bones, rather than the delicate organs in his abdomen and chest.

“The man who survived was very lucky. It is all about the way you fall.”

Robert Davies, 24, of Peterborough, did a charity tandem skydive at the airfield earlier in the day, but left at about 13:00 BST.

Sibson Aerodrome signSibson Aerodrome has one of the country’s longest established parachuting centres

“When I did my jump, conditions were pretty much perfect. It was nice and sunny with not much wind,” he said.

“There were about 30 or 35 tandem jumpers and maybe 30 or so single jumpers. Everyone was in good spirits and it seemed to be a very professionally-run outfit.

“I was very shocked and taken aback when I heard what had happened.”

The East of England Ambulance Service said it was called just after 15:30 BST.

Charity jumps

A spokeswoman said: “All emergency crews worked very hard together to try to save the life of one of the men involved, but despite the best efforts of crews he was sadly pronounced dead at the scene.

“Our sincerest condolences go out to his family and loved ones. We wish the second casualty all the best for a good recovery.”

Sibson Aerodrome is one of two bases for UK Parachuting, which offers skydiving courses and charity jumps.

The company was referring all inquiries to the British Parachute Association (BPA), the sport’s governing body, which was not available for comment.

Cambridgeshire Police said the BPA would be investigating the accident.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch confirmed it would not be investigating since no aircraft were directly involved.

Sibson Aerodrome signThe airfield was the scene of a fatal light aircraft crash in September 2011

According to UK Parachuting’s website, Sibson Aerodrome has been home to a parachute centre since 1971 and was one of the first civilian drop zones in the country.

The airfield is also a centre for general aviation. Last September a pilot was killed when his light aircraft hit power lines near the airfield, which is close to the A1.

The AAIB’s report, published last week, concluded that Clive Greenaway, 52, may have been unaware that the lines were there and may have been distracted by a plane taking off from the airfield.

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