Parachuter Has Skydiving Malfunction And Lands In Cornfield!
Greg Frucci, 61, is a man of many talents!
He is an architect by profession, but also a published author.
He lives on his sailboat in Norfolk, Virginia, USA, and has spent his life living in various locations around the world, because his dad was a fighter pilot in the US Marine Corps. In this harrowing video, he had a parachute malfunction!
"I had what is referred to as a "Partial Malfunction" of my main canopy (parachute). It was my second jump out of a helicopter that day. There were several of us doing the jumps, but the helicopter could only hold 3 jumpers plus the pilot at a time, so we would rotate jumps" said Greg.
"We exited the helicopter at around 5,000 feet. I deployed my main canopy at around 3,000 feet after a bit of uneventful freefall. Upon deploying my main canopy, we are trained to immediately check to see if we have a "good" canopy. I did not, since the line groups from my parachute rig to the main canopy were in a serious twist" said Greg.
"Sometimes small twists happen and almost always once can "beat" the lines and/or twist our bodies and/or attempt to move the line groups as you see me doing in the video. All the while, checking my wrist-mounted altimeter. 2,000 feet above the ground is "decision" altitude. Meaning, if I cannot untwist or in any way deal with a "bad" canopy, that is the time to decide to cut the main canopy away and deploy my last hope of living...the Reserve Canopy" said Greg.
"I was actually a bit below 2,000 feet when I cut away. After that, the decision becomes where to land if you discern that you cannot make it back to the Landing Zone (LZ). Also, part of the decision is to see where your main canopy that was cut away is drifting because you want to find it...they are not cheap. In the video, you can barely see my main drifting, so I knew where it was, but not sure if it would land in the trees, in someone's backyard or in a field. I calculated my trajectory and determined that I would not make it back to the LZ, so I turned and attempted to follow my main canopy as it was drifting, all the while being conscious of my altitude and where I could land" said Greg.
"Once I got down to an altitude where I would need to turn onto my final approach (just like an airplane...you want to land into the wind), I lost sight of my main canopy and realized that I was about to land in a cornfield. From high above the field looked like a freshly plowed one. It was brown like the earth, yet the corn was beginning to turn brown, so I made an error with that part. Once I was on my final approach and realized it was a cornfield, I then had to really concentrate on landing in between the rows of corn so I wouldn't get a corn stalk in a place where it would not be comfortable!" said Greg.
"When I hit the ground...and I use the word "hit" intentionally...I paused for what seemed a long time. While I was entering the cornfield from above, I think the lines to the canopy caught the corn tops which is why I kinda flipped and landed on my back...hard. Thank God I was wearing a full-face helmet not only for flying through the corn but when I hit the ground on my back, so did my head. I just laid there for a few seconds and did a body check wiggling my fingers and toes and moving my body to see if I could. No issues and no pain!" said Greg.
"The first thing that popped into my noggin after I realized I was OK, was the other skydivers who I knew could not see me land. So, I gathered up my reserve canopy, worked my way through the corn and found the road back to the landing area. Whilst walking back, Alberto found me on the road...so all became well" said Greg.
This video was filmed on August 28, 2021 in Pungo, Virginia, USA.