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Skydiver's horror plunge to earth

By Hayden Donnell, Abby Gillies

A man skydiving in Motueka is in a serious condition after his parachute reportedly failed to deploy. This image show the point where he landed. Photo / Supplied
A man skydiving in Motueka is in a serious condition after his parachute reportedly failed to deploy. This image show the point where he landed. Photo / Supplied

A skydiver who was seriously injured when his parachute failed over Motueka Airport had carried out more than 1000 jumps before the accident.

Emergency services were called to the airport at about 2pm after the man from Taupo landed heavily on grass in front of witnesses at the Good Vibes skydiving festival.

Skydive Abel Tasman said the man, 35, was part of a crew of about four people participating in a jump from 4000m.

He could not gain control of his fall when he opened his main parachute, it said. His reserve parachute eventually opened automatically just 200 metres above the ground, police said.

Tasman police district spokeswoman Barbara Dunn said the man landed heavily despite the reserve chute slowing his descent.

He bounced several times before coming to a rest, she said.

St John's Ambulance spokesman Ian Henderson said the man received multiple injuries, including possible damage to his back.

He was transported to Nelson Hospital by the Summit Rescue Helicopter.

The injuries were not believed to be life threatening, Skydive Abel Tasman said.

Its director Stuart Bean said the man was an experienced skydiver who had carried out more than 1000 jumps, including 10 to 15 during the Good Vibes festival.

He was known to many of the people at the festival and news of his injuries had been met with sadness, Mr Bean said.

"We're a small community and we all know each other and we're very sorry to see he's been hurt."

Mr Bean said an investigation would be carried out into the incident.

He said the festival would go ahead despite the fall.

"That's what he would have wanted."

The issue with the main chute was very uncommon, and the company would carry out an investigation to find out what happened, said Mr Bean.

- Herald Online and APNZ

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