Premature Deployment - Have you seen my shoe? -- The Interview

Unless you were under a rock last week, you have seen the video PussFoot featured called (Premature Deployment - Have you seen my shoe?). The video generated so much buzz and hype as to what might have caused this incident, that we thought it would be beneficial to our audience to bring you a quick Q&A with the participants.  In case you missed the video it available below. Make sure to read both Kevin and Joe's recollection of the event. Hope you enjoy.

 Video Below: 

Now Let's See what the Skydivers have to say: 

Kevin in your words please tell us what happened.


I want to thank Pussfoot for reaching out to me in regard to all the buzz about the events in this video.  I'd like to explain how things unfolded from my point of view. Me and a friend exited side by side (meaning we left at exactly the same time diving out after the linked pair).  As soon as we got out, my hacky which is on my right side, caught the shoe jumpers left hip ring/leg strap as we bumped hips as soon as we got out (relative wind pushing us together). In turn causing my pilot chute to come out and wrap up his leg, down to his ankle. All of which is happening behind me as you can see I started tracking right after the bump I felt. He got on his back to address the tangle and passed me with lines in tow. At that point I wasn't even sure if they were mine or what was happening until I saw my canopy below me. As soon as the lines got taut, I got jerked forward/down and off to the side just as the shoe came off.  When that happened, I reached for my RSL (because if I'm going to be wrapped up I want to be able to swim out of it before deploying reserve) and before I could get to it, the canopy opened and went right past me. The conditions that day were 35mph uppers and I was facing a headwind with the DZ looking to still be pretty far out and I'm above 12k. I did my controllability check as I was taught in AFF and it still flew ok.  Even though it had a broken B line on the right, a large hole in the left end cell, line burns everywhere, and multiple tears including ribs being separated (unknown to me at the time).  I did a few turns, flares and talked myself out of cutting away while I made my way to DZ since what I had above me was still controllable and I felt I could land it. Which I ended up doing.

Kevin, people seem to think that your slider was collapsed. What can you tell me about that?


-I can say for sure that my slider was not collapsed as it would be impossible to square the slider for opening while packing the canopy right before wrapping the tail.  The slider was all the way at the bottom of lines after coming out of the bag which pulled both pull tabs as they made their way through the mess of lines all the way up to the top where the risers are since the canopy was below me.  My pin was seated and confirmed this myself before getting to the door (as well as my Freefly tuck tab), my pilot chute was all the way in the BOC with no bridle coming out, closing loop was proper length and condition.  The gear and pack job were not the reason this happened.

Kevin, if you could of done anything different what would it have been?


-The exit was the main reason why this happened.  Don't exit side by side with someone diving out as the relative wind can push you together causing you to bump together and snag handles. Protect your pilot chute and handles, avoid bumping and or passing someone on your right side.

Kevin, What were your first thoughts as this was happening?


- As soon as I realized what going on, I knew I needed to disconnect my RSL in case I needed to get out of my canopy before going to my reserve. If I went right to my cutaway handle with my RSL still connected, I could have lost both canopies as well as escalated the situation, putting me and Joe in an even worse position

Kevin, how did you feel once the tangle had cleared?


- It happened so fast and to say it was a hard opening would be an understatement.   It came as quite a surprise to be open and still be above 12k.  I was also relieved that the other jumper was clear and I wasn't swimming in a mess of lines and canopy.

Kevin, you landed that parachute that was damaged, what were your thoughts behind that?


- I did my controllability checks, made sure my canopy still functioned and was landable.  Since I had a long canopy ride and it still flew ok, I decided not to go from a canopy I felt 75% good about, to one that I'm sure would have opened, but there's no going back once you chop it. So, decided to land it while keeping a good eye on the condition of the canopy and keeping my inputs small and smooth.   Most of my canopy ride was flown with rear risers and I had to keep slight tension on it as it started to hiccup while in full flight (most likely from the rib separation)

Kevin, will this change the way you skydive from now on?


- I learned countless lessons from this jump and I am much more aware of the importance of protecting your pilot chute throughout the jump.   From getting in the plane, getting in the door, on exit and in freefall.  I personally think this jump taught me a lot and I'm happy to share my thoughts with others in hopes for others to learn from it and make this sport as safe as it can be.  I'm happy we both handled it the way we did and the only casualties were a shoe and an Icarus Safire 2 190.  I've seen how bad things can get in what seems like milliseconds and I will make better decisions in the future.


Wait below you will find more from joe and his shoe 


Joe in your words please tell us what happened?


We were planning a simple 5-way belly jump that day.  The exit plan was one guy on the camera step, two in the door and Kevin and myself diving out after them.  Moments after jumping out I felt something but assumed it was just me and Kevin bumping into each other and we would get stable in a few seconds.  I quickly realized that wasn't the case when I saw lines.  The next thing I knew I had his bridle wrapped around my right leg and I was hanging upside down.  I tried to reach up a few times to free myself, but I felt it tighten and I quickly realized that wasn't going to work.  After a few seconds I kicked my shoe off and fortunately that freed me, and Kevin's canopy deployed.  I was still above 13k when I got free, so I free fell down to my normal deployment altitude and landed my canopy uneventfully.  

Joe, when you looked up and noticed you were caught up what were you thinking?


I just remember seeing his lines and immediately thinking "oh shit, this is not good".  You can see in the video that I was actually only wrapped up for less than 10 seconds.  It felt much longer as I remember having many thoughts go through my head.  I knew that I needed to free myself as soon as possible.  I thought that he was going to need to cut away his main and that would either free me or if the bridle was still around my leg it might at least relieve some tension and I would hopefully be able to separate myself from his canopy.  I feel like I was able to remain calm because this happened right out the door and I never felt any ground rush.  I knew that I had time to work the situation out.

Joe, what made you pull off you shoe?


After I reached up and try to unwrap the bridle from my leg a few times, I realized that that wasn't going to work.  After it was wrapped up for a few seconds I felt it tighten and I really didn't think I was going to be able to get myself free.  It was at this point that I had the feeling that it was stuck on my sneaker and if I could get my sneaker off I might get free.  I remember having a split second of concern for losing my sneaker before wisely choosing my life over my shoe.  I was able to get my left foot on my right heel and pop the shoe right off.  It looked like Kevin instantly shot up and I felt a wave of relief.

 Joe, once you cleared what were you thinking?


My first thought was one of incredible relief.  Since I knew that I was ok, my next thought was hoping that Kevin was as well.  Since I saw his canopy open though, I felt reasonably certain that he was alright too.  We actually got around 15k on that load, so I was still above 13k once we had everything sorted out.  I had the thought of going to join my other three friends on the jump, but I had enough excitement for that jump and I just wanted to fly by myself.  The guy on the camera step started flying over to me but I flew away from him.

Joe, has this event changed the way you skydive?


The main takeaway that I will have on every jump going forward is to be more diligent about covering my handles.  Even though my handle didn't come out, it was a strong reminder how quickly it can happen to anyone.  I'm also keeping an eye out on the plane more looking at other jumpers.  On a broader level it was a wake up against getting too complacent.  I just got my C license which I think I read is actually the license that jumpers have the most incidents with.  Enough jumps to think you know what you're doing but not enough to have seen shit go bad.  I'm just going to try to keep that in mind and stay humble.

I hope you all enjoyed this little interview. if you have any further questions feel free to Email us at A huge thank you to both Kevin and Joe for taking time to talk to us. I'm so happy you are both ok. Next jump is on PussFoot!

Stay Safe and Blue Skies!!

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