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Skydiver survives plunge after parachute fails to open

August 17, 2009 | 11:54 am

A skydiver (not Lewis) floats back down to earth.

A skydiver suffered few injuries after plunging 2,000 feet and hitting an aircraft hangar when his parachute failed to open properly.

According to the London Times article, skydive cameraman Paul Lewis was filming another parachutist who was making her first jump from 10,000 feet near Whitchurch, England, last week.

At 3,000 feet Lewis pulled his main parachute, which failed to deploy. He then tried his reserve chute, which malfunctioned and only partially opened.

Lewis spiraled rapidly the remaining 2,000 feet, hitting the steel roof of an aircraft hangar. His parachute snagged on the roof, halting his fall to the ground.

It took nearly an hour for the local fire department and paramedics to free Lewis from the 30-foot high hangar.

Lewis suffered injury to his head and neck. Though the extent of these injuries were not reported, he is in stable condition and in "good spirits" according to friends.

"He is incredibly lucky, he's almost without an injury," said Colin Fitzmaurice, owner of the Parachute Center where Lewis flew from.

"The steel roof took some of the force out of the fall," Fitzmaurice said. "If he'd fallen 10 feet either way he would have landed on concrete. I'm just relieved he's okay"

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: A skydiver (not Lewis) floats back down to Earth. Credit: Los Angeles Times