Soldier Survives 15,000-Foot Fall and Crashes through House after Parachute Failure

Unable to fully open the parachute, a British soldier fell 4572-meters (15,000 feet) and crashed to the ground, barely surviving. Residents of Vaya Silo, about 322 kilometers (200 miles) northwest of Los Angeles, made a cartoonish hole when the soldiers slept incessantly on the roof of a nearby house when the panchutivadi collapsed. The photos were shared by Twitter users showing the aftermath of the ordeal. Miraculously, the soldier suffered no major injuries and is recovering, the defense ministry told the Standard.

The incident happened after soldiers at Camp Roberts gave a group training in the HALO (High Altitude Low Opening) jump. This deployment technique is often used to deploy troops and equipment in hostile environments and involves descending from a height of 12,192 meters (40,000 feet), but only involves opening a parachute 914 meters (3,000 feet) below before reaching the ground. HALO jumps are suitable for avoiding detection and reaching the drop zone quickly, but give very little room for faults or equipment errors.

As a result, these techniques are used only by the highly specialized units, which include the Special Air Service (SAS) and the Special Boat Service (SBS) from the UK. In this exercise, the paratrooper was reported to be descending a further 4,572 meters (15,000 feet) if the original parachute failed to open. Equipped with reserve jute, the soldier deployed it to slow down the rise but was unable to open it in time to reach the designated drop zone.

Instead, the soldier quickly fell and crashed through the roof of a residential building – which fortunately had no interior – where he was rescued by emergency services. The Atascadiro Police Department detailed the incident in a Facebook post on July 7. While this may seem impossible, reading from 15,000 feet is rarely different from 1,500 feet. On average, the Skyver takes just 12 seconds to reach the terminal speed – 120 miles/hour with a blister – at which point they will cover about 1,500 feet (450 meters).