Skydiver injured in high-speed landing
Steve Verner was practising difficult 'swooping' manoeuvre
An experienced skydiver practicing a special kind of landing was rushed to hospital with severe head and neck injuries after a mishap at an airport in Gatineau on Sunday.
The incident happened at about 1 p.m. in clear, calm conditions. His family does not want the exact details of his injuries to be released.
Steve Verner was using a rectangular parachute known as a canopy, with steering toggles. He was performing a 'swooping' manoeuvre, during which a skydiver will approach the ground horizontally at about 60 to 70 kilometres per hour.
He had performed the move dozens of times before, but this time he missed his target, landing on his knees instead of his feet.
Equipment failure ruled out
Gatineau-Ottawa Skydive co-owner Pierre Carpentier said Verner has been skydiving for about 10 years and is also an instructor.
"He's an experienced jumper with over 1,000 jumps," Carpentier told CBC News at the scene Sunday. "He was not working at the time when he got injured; he was just practising some landing manoeuvres.
"These manoeuvres are only done by people that are very experienced. There's an event in competitions called swooping and this is what the guys do to slowly build their experience level up."
Carpentier said only two or three people at GO Skydive are experienced enough to perform the swooping technique. He also said equipment failure has been ruled out.
Gatineau firefighters said Verner was unconscious when paramedics loaded him into the ambulance. Carpentier said Verner was in stable condition Monday.
Staff at the skydiving company are advising people performing the move to take extra precautions.