SAR Tech - 'C' Category - Epilogue

Report / January 9, 2013 / Project number: SAR-C-Cat

Location: Cloud Lake, Greenwood, NS
Status: Investigation Complete
Date: 2013-01-09

The accident occurred during a daytime training mission when a SAR Tech received serious injuries upon landing in a confined area following a static line parachute jump from a CC130 Hercules aircraft.

The SAR Tech exited cleanly from the aircraft and commenced flying to the confined area under a normal parachute canopy. After completing his checks and four spiral turns, he conducted an aggressive 180 degree left turn at low altitude to enter the confined area via a gap in the trees along the shoreline. One second after completing the turn, he impacted the ground with considerable forward speed. Two other SAR Techs, who were already in the confined area, provided on-site medical aid to the injured SAR Tech, who was shortly thereafter taken to hospital in Halifax by CH149 helicopter and ambulance. He sustained ‘C’ category injuries.

The investigation determined that the SAR Tech’s parachute was serviceable and the upper portion of his descent was normal. However, his selection of an inappropriate route into the area and use of a sharp turn below the recommended altitude, exacerbated by the illusion of sufficient altitude on final approach caused by using local tree heights to judge altitude, resulted in the occurrence. The SAR Tech’s recent recertification training following a nine month grounding, although in accordance with orders, was also found to be inadequate. An examination of the Standard Maneuver Manual used to support his training indicated that there was insufficient information about judging distances and heights and glide-path maintenance.

In response to this accident, the RCAF will consolidate and increase the level of detail used to describe SAR Tech parachuting procedures. Amendments to strengthen the delivery of recertification training will also be made.

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