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Man held after parachute failure

Published 08/05/2015

Police said the woman's main parachute failed to deploy
Police said the woman's main parachute failed to deploy

A man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after a woman's parachute failed to deploy during a skydive, leaving her to plummet 4,000 feet to the ground.

The experienced 39-year-old sustained "multiple serious injuries" and was lucky to avoid death during the "routine" jump above Salisbury Plain on April 5, Wiltshire Police said.

Her main parachute failed to deploy at all and she was only saved by her reserve parachute, which also failed but opened just enough to slow her descent from a fatal velocity. Detectives said today that "slinks" or soft links used to connect the canopy to the parachute harness were "missing".

Police launched an investigation after being contacted by the parachute club at Netheravon Airfield, on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, the day after the incident. The arrested man, who is 35, has since been released on bail.

Detective Inspector Paul Franklin said: "This woman would have been dead if her chute hadn't partially opened, this meant her descent was slowed enough for her to survive the fall. However, we were alerted to concerns over what had happened by the parachute club and as a result instigated an investigation."

He added: "In particular, we are looking for 'slinks' that were missing from the parachute which may have been removed and discarded somewhere. This woman survived this fall miraculously but despite her experience she very nearly lost her life."

The woman was taken to Southampton General Hospital with "multiple serious injuries" after her impact and is now recovering at home, police said.

Mr Franklin added that while police have spoken to many members of the parachute club, they still want any other witnesses to the incident to come forward.

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