Skydiver Liam Byrne lands in tree after parachutes get twisted
- 15 October 2012
- From the section Tyne & Wear
A teenage skydiver who landed in a tree after his parachutes failed to deploy properly was "fortunate" to survive the 3,000ft (914m) jump, his rescuers said.
Liam Byrne, from Doncaster, was taking part in his first skydive on Saturday in County Durham when his main parachute became twisted.
He tried to cut it away and deploy his reserve but the two became entangled and he spiralled out of control.
The 18-year-old said he was thinking about jumping again to "get over it".
The Northumbria University student said: "They [the instructors] told me I was at around 1,000ft (304m)... which is very dangerous to cut away, but I cut away my main chute and pulled my reserve.
"But unfortunately, my main chute got wrapped around the top of my reserve because of how I was falling and I lost control of that as well and started to spiral."
'Kept relatively calm'
With the parachutes tangled, Mr Byrne narrowly missed a fence and a church during his uncontrolled descent.
A tree broke his fall and he was left clinging to it 30ft (9m) above the ground.
He said: "It was a bit scary. I just made sure I grabbed on to the tree so I was safe until someone came and found me.
"I wasn't shouting anything, I was just a bit worried… I thought 'oh no, what do I do now?'
"If I was panicking I wouldn't have been able to do what I did, so I was very lucky I kept relatively calm."
Fifteen firefighters from County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service helped rescue him from the tree near Peterlee Parachute Centre.
John Robson, from the fire service, said: "He was fortunate, there's no doubt about it.
"You've got everything from a church to fencing and all sorts of stuff round there."
The student only suffered cuts and bruises to his arms.
He said: "Everyone is curious to know how I'm still here.
"I do realise how lucky I am - I'm probably going to go and get a lottery ticket.
"I'm thinking about jumping again next week - the best way to get over it is to go again, nothing worse can happen after that."