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Parachutist dies following jump

A male parachutist has died after coming down in a field, an ambulance service said.

Paramedics were called to a field next to a church on Main Street, Cockerham, near Lancaster, Lancashire, at 1.52pm.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene, the spokeswoman for North West Ambulance Service said.

Retired paramedic Chris Tomlin, 56, said the parachutist was jumping as part of the Cockerham Gala which takes place in the village every year. Mr Tomlin said about 300 people live in the village and many would have been enjoying the gala.

He was standing in his back garden, which is about 500m from the field, when he realised the man was in trouble and tended to him after he had hit the ground.

Mr Tomlin said: "The parachutist left the aircraft. He deployed his chute and it was tangled. He tried to cover the procedure to untangle the chute and he was over Cockerham church when he must have realised how close to the ground he was. He cut away the main chute and deployed his emergency chute but it looks like he was too close to the ground."

He said he believed the parachutist was part of the Black Knights Parachute Centre which is based in Cockerham. The centre, which is affiliated to the British Parachute Association (BPA), has been operating since 1964 and is one of the longest-established parachute training centres in the UK, according to its website.

Mr Tomlin said weather conditions were ideal for a parachute jump and lots of people jumped earlier in the day without any problems. He said: "It's just an accident, pure and simple. It's terrible."

A spokeswoman from the Black Knights Parachute Centre in Cockerham, Lancashire, said: "A BPA board of inquiry will be investigating the accident and when complete will submit the reports to the coroner, and any other relevant information. The report will include the board's conclusion and, if appropriate, make recommendations."

A spokesman for Lancashire Police said the man is believed to be in his 40s but has not yet been identified as officers are trying to trace his next-of-kin. He said: "A man has sadly died following a parachute accident in Cockerham. Emergency services were called to the scene shortly before 2pm this afternoon. An investigation is now under way between the police and other relevant authorities."


From Belfast Telegraph