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SKYDIVER / DROPZONE / INDUSTRY ALERT

May 31, 2006

JOINT STATEMENT FROM THE U.S. PARACHUTE ASSOCIATION AND THE PARACHUTE INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION


3833 West Oakton Street 
Skokie, IL  60076 
telephone: 847-674-9742 
fax: 847-674-9743 

Within the last seven months there have been two U.S. tandem fatalities in which the student/passenger has fallen out of the harness upon opening shock. Reportedly in one case the person went under the back strap and in the other, over the back strap.

As circumstances of these two fatalities are being examined by multiple parties, it is imperative that tandem instructors and safety personnel examine and review tandem harness fitting and adjustment procedures available from the manufacturers.

Schools and centers with tandem operations should review tandem adjustments for varying body types while simulating opening positions/sequences on the ground to ensure a full understanding of potentially hazardous body shifting which can occur during freefall and opening.

Tandem manufactures should examine their respective systems to ensure that unusual opening attitudes, varying body sizes/shapes, and recommended instructor procedures will provide student/passenger security within the harness, particularly during the opening sequence.