Wednesday 28 September 2016

Dramatic moment Red Devil catches pal after chute fails

Patrick Sawer

Published 21/06/2015 | 02:30

A Red Devil parachutist was caught in mid-air and brought to safety by a team-mate after his chute failed to open properly during an air show.

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The British Army freefall parachute display team was performing at the Whitehaven Air Show, on the Cumbrian coast in England, on Friday when Corporal Mike French's device failed to open.

Thousands of anxious onlookers saw the stricken Cpl French (34) "violently kicking" as he appeared to become tangled up in the parachute above him during the show.

Seconds later a second member of the team, Cpl Wayne Shorthouse (32) manage to grab Cpl French's parachute.

Footage and pictures of the lucky escape showed Cpl French coming down attached to Cpl Shorthouse, with the pair landing in water at Whitehaven Marina moments later.

An Army spokesman said it was the first time a parachute has failed in 25 years.

A Red Devil parachutist was caught in mid-air and brought to safety by a team-mate after his chute failed to open properly during an air show
A Red Devil parachutist was caught in mid-air and brought to safety by a team-mate after his chute failed to open properly during an air show
A team members chute failed to open - leaving a team-mate to catch him in mid-air and bring him to safety
The 'Red Devils' who were performing at the Whitehaven Air Show on the Cumbrian coast last night, when a team members chute failed to open - leaving a team-mate to catch him in mid-air and bring him to safety (Stephen Miller/PA Wire)

A message was later posted on the show's Facebook page, saying: "We can confirm that the Red Devil parachutists are both safe and sound.

Lucy Milne, who was watching the display, described the horror as the men appeared to be plunging to earth.

She told the BBC: "He was violently kicking his legs and he was trying to get free or trying to manoeuvre. Above him was another man tangled up in his parachute. They started picking up speed and he was wiggling his legs even more. Everyone was holding their breath and then all of a sudden they were in the water.

"Everyone was staring at the water for ages waiting for them both to pop up and then when eventually they did everyone clapped."

Sunday Independent

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