Alberta skydiving crash sends British soldier to hospital

A 25-year-old man is in life-threatening condition after falling thousands of feet during training near Calgary.

A British soldier is in hospital with life-threatening injuries after falling thousands of feet during parachute training near Beiseker, about 70 kilometres outside of Calgary, according to police.

"The initial report that we had come in was that this individual had fallen somewhere in the neighbourhood of 4,000 feet," said Kelly Brossart from STARS air ambulance.

Ian Flanagan, owner of Alberta Skydivers, says the soldier was on his first jump. (CBC)

A spokesperson with CFB Suffield confirmed that the 25-year-old was a member of the British Army Training Unit Suffield and was taking part in "organized military adventure training" when he was injured.

Police said it appears that his parachute malfunctioned as he was descending Saturday evening.

He was taken by helicopter to a hospital in Calgary.

Officials wouldn’t specify what injuries the man suffered but he is in critical condition.

His name and rank have not been released.

Ian Flanagan, owner of Alberta Skydivers, says the soldier was taking parachute training for the first time. Military officials did not confirm if that was the case.

Flanagan says the soldier’s parachute did appear to open properly. The man then started to do a planned 360-degree turn.

He says the soldier did four or five turns instead of just one.

"He hit the ground while he was still turning," said Flanagan.

"We had a medic in the field immediately. We called 911 right away."

Flanagan says the soldier would have had a day-and-a-half of training on the ground before making his first jump.