Chutes Malfunction, But Skydiver Lives

Paul Lewis says he'd made 660 jumps by the middle of august, when he was in the air for a British skydiving club. It was Lewis' job to record a souvenir video for a novice jumper, with the camera mounted on Lewis' helmet.

As these things go, the first ten seconds of the trip were just fine, reports CBS News Correspondent Richard Roth.

"Unfortunately," says Lewis, 40, "when I deployed my main parachute, things went horribly wrong. A skydiver always knows, especially if they jump the same canopy, whether that opening felt right or wrong, and mine felt awful."

Lines twisted, the main parachute hadn't fully deployed. He cut it free, and at about 2,000 feet above Earth and falling fast, he deployed his reserve parachute -- which also failed to properly unfold.

"I looked up at my canopy, closed my eyes and very, very calmly thought to myself, 'It's all over.' "

With no control over his descent, and just limited braking power, Lewis says he blacked out. But, the reserve chute guided him to a hard landing on a relatively flexible metal roof, with neck and arm injuries, but no broken bones.

Lewis says it was his last jump. "That's luck for you. And I just feel that, if I jump again, I'm pushing that luck too far."

What went wrong? No one is sure. Lewis simply says there are so many things that can go wrong, one did.
  • CBSNews

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