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Sergeant Emile Cilliers arrested after chute near death of wife Victoria

By Emma Clark

Published 11/05/2015

A man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder
A man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder

A man arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after his wife's parachute failed to open during a skydive is a British Army sergeant.

South African-born Emile Cilliers (35) was questioned by police last week after his wife Victoria plummeted 4,000ft to the ground.

The experienced 39-year-old parachutist had multiple serious injuries but "miraculously survived" what should have been a "routine" jump at Salisbury Plain on April 5, Wiltshire Police said.

Her husband, an instructor with the Royal Army Physical Training Corps attached to the Royal Engineers, was arrested for attempted murder and released on bail last week.

Police described how Mrs Cilliers' main parachute first failed to deploy, while her reserve also failed but opened enough to slow her descent from a fatal velocity before she crashed to the ground.

The parachute club at Netheravon Airfield alerted police to the rarity of the incident a day later.

Detectives, who are still appealing for witnesses, said that "slinks" or soft links used to connect the canopy to the parachute harness were "missing".

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