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1999 Personal Accounts
The Darwin Awards salutes the spirit portrayed in the following personal accounts, submitted by loyal (and sometimes deceased) readers. Next


Leap of Faith 
1999 Personal Account

Back in March of 1966, I was completing my third week of Jump School at Fort Benning, Georgia. I witnessed an incident which, though it could have ended in tragedy, was spectacularly funny nonetheless.

We trainees were repeatedly warned that while we were under silk, floating down, we were to avoid at all costs crossing over another jumper's parachute. One day, after landing, I walked back to the marshalling area and stood watching others make the "leap of faith." Sure enough, right in front of my eyes, one jumper allowed his chute to drift over another jumper's parachute.

The bottom parachute stole the air from the top parachute, which collapsed and set the top jumper down on the bottom jumper's canopy. While the top jumper sat on this jello-like pedestal, his own parachute dropped down and dangled around the bottom jumper. Then the still-inflated bottom parachute deformed, and spit the top jumper off into space.

The falling jumper, in fear for his life, grabbed the risers of the bottom parachute, and slid down them, where he ended up face-to-face with the bottom jumper, who proceeded to pummel the intruder in the face. The other jumper began fighting back, and the brawl continued until they hit the ground in a heap.

The event taught us a serious lesson. But it was still damn funny to watch!

Rebuttal by Bill Bierman of the United States Parachute Association A-18666: "This story has an obvious flaw. An inflated canopy will not support the weight of a human being. So the top jumper certainly could not sit on it. Pictures you may have seen of people standing on another chute is done under a fully inflated canopy which supports the weight, not the parachute they are standing on. Contact your local parachute club or local physics professor for more information."

Submitted by: fenwicke69

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