Skydiver survives getting tangled under plane in Denmark

Pilot says he did not know the man was trapped underneath until alerted by ground control

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The Independent Online

A skydiver has had a narrow escape after his parachute became caught under an aircraft he had moments earlier jumped from.

The failed skydive, which took place at Lindtorp airfield, west of Denmark's second city Aarhus, went disastrously wrong when the 45-year-old parachutist's foot became caught in a cable.

He was then stuck, dangling perilously under the aircraft at 2,500ft.

Duty officer Jens Claumarch of Mid and West Jutland police told a Danish news agency: “As soon as his instructor, who jumped before him, was able to get radio contact with the pilot and people on the ground, a rescue operation was started.

“At that point, the aircraft was down to a height of around 500 metres, but went up to around a kilometre in case he came loose and needed to use his parachute.”

The aircraft was forced to fly in circles, burning fuel, while being followed by a helicopter ambulance until the diver was ready to land.

The incident lasted almost an hour until the pilot was able to land safety, dragging the skydiver 200 metres along the airfield’s grass before it came to a halt. 

People on the ground laid out foam along the runway so the skydiver’s impact would be softened when the plane landed at its lowest possible speed.

Pilot Leif Johannsen, who has had 37 years flying experience, told Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten: “It was a nightmare scenario that I have seen others experience before. 

“A scenario in which there is no rulebook on how the problem should be solved. 

“It only went well because we worked together. People on the ground and me in the air with a calm skydiver waiting for us to help him.”

He said he did not know the man had got tangled until he was told by ground control. 

Officer Claumarch said the man was in a good condition given the circumstances and had escaped with little more “a groin strain and graze”.

“There’s not much need for him to play the lottery this week. He’s used up all his luck,” he added.

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