Polk skydiver gets tangled in parachute; falls thousands of feet - WFLA News Channel 8

Polk skydiver gets tangled in parachute; falls thousands of feet

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Photo of Victor Bryie courtesy of Facebook Photo of Victor Bryie courtesy of Facebook
He fell toward the Earth with a parachute that was only partially open. Now a skydiver who survived an accident that started nearly a mile and a half in the air is slowly recovering.

Polk Co. Sheriff's Office investigators say it happened just after 3:00 p.m. on Sunday. Victor Bryie, 27 of 537 Heather Glen Drive, Winter Haven, had been attempting a Canopy Relative Work maneuver with another parachutist, Shaun Phillips, also 27 of the United Kingdom. The CREW maneuver is essentially when skydivers stack their parachutes.

Phillips told investigators both he and Bryie jumped at 14,000 ft. At 9,000 feet, Phillips was above Bryie and said Bryie came up under him too fast with an open chute. The parachute's lines entangled both men.

As they were falling, Phillip's chute was still open but Bryie's was completely "cocooned" in his lines. Phillips managed to get himself free at about 3,000 feet, but Bryie was spinning horizontally while fully wrapped in lines and his parachute was only partially open.

"You can never be trained to fall through space with no parachute," said Arch Deal, former WFLA anchor and veteran skydiver with more than 6,000 of them under his belt.

Deal said he was involved in similar "wrap" accidents twice, once over San Francisco Bay and another time over San Juan Puerto Rico.

The feeling of getting wrapped up with another skydiver is a terrifying one, no matter how seasoned or trained you are.

"It only gets worse. It goes faster and faster and faster. Eventually you'd be unconscious from centrifugal force," Deal said. "You try to help other people as you can, but basically you are truly on your own and you have to take care of yourself."

Polk County Sheriff's Office deputies found Bryie where he landed near a fence approximately 25 yards from Highway 60 just east of Viking Recycling. Emergency teams air lifted him to Lakeland Regional Medical Center, where he is now in stable condition.

Shaun Phillips went to Lake Wales Hospital; however, he was never admitted.

The Sheriff’s Office contacted the FAA. The federal agency looks into parachute jumping accidents inspecting the parachute rigging and compliance.

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