A parachutist was airlifted from Kingsford Smith Park in Ballina by the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter yesterday after a poorly judged landing.
A parachutist was airlifted from Kingsford Smith Park in Ballina by the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter yesterday after a poorly judged landing. Jay Cronan

Skydiving accidents keep rescuers busy

A MIS-TIMED landing by a Brisbane skydiver with 8000 jumps under his belt was to blame for an accident at Ballina’s Kingsford Smith Park mid-morning yesterday.

It was one of two separate skydiving accidents that kept emergency services on the coast busy.

Another skydiver came to grief when he misjudged his jump at Tyagarah Airstrip, landing in bushland and dislocating his left ankle.

The 39-year-old Brisbane jumper, who has competed in eight world skydiving competitions, was taken by the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter to Lismore Base Hospital in a serious but stable condition with fractures to his left leg and pelvic injuries after misjudging his landing at the Drop Zone at the Bentinck Street park.

He was in Ballina to jump with friends from GoSkydive.

Owner of the Ballina business, Joe Stein, said the skydiver was completing a solo jump from 8000 feet and there was nothing to indicate problems.

Despite the injuries, he downplayed the incident describing it as a minor skydiving mishap, but said a review would be made of video footage.

He added that the skydiver would be interviewed and all the equipment would be checked according to standard procedures after any incident.

The jump was not related to the business operations of GoSkydive – in which tandem jumps are made with novices – and the day’s other scheduled jumps had been postponed.

Mr Stein said it was the first accident in GoSkydive’s three years operating in Ballina.

Four paramedics attended the scene along with the helicopter’s on-board paramedic and doctor who spent about 25 minutes stabilising the skydiver.

At Tyagarah, a 30-year-old man was treated by paramedics and initially transported to Mullumbimby Hospital with a dislocated left ankle, but was later transferred by ambulance to Tweed Heads Hospital.

They had difficulty accessing the accident scene in dense bushland and required the assistance of locals to extract the man.



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