As if the prospect of skydiving wasn’t frightening enough for the ones doing it, an Oceanside couple received a rather unexpected caller when a parachutist whose rig failed to open properly dropped in on them last week—plummeting from the heavens at near-terminal velocity and crashing directly onto their house.
Amber Sweet-Smith, whose home broke the unfortunate—or insanely fortunate—daredevil’s fall, said of the puzzling ordeal, “It felt like forever, just looking at him… We stood there in, like, shock just going, ‘He has to be dead,’” KTLA reports.
But the skydiver, who was on a jump with GoJump Oceanside, was not dead. He was immediately tended to by a jump instructor and first responders who arrived at the scene within minutes. “It felt like the whole wall shook,” Sweet-Smith said. “We usually hear the screaming or, you know, people laughing—just in the air, and [my husband] heard like an unusual scream, looked up, saw the guy and went, probably in his head, ‘Oh ****, he’s going to hit our house.’”
The fire department explained the daredevil’s survival in statement to CBS8: “The partially open chute prevented a complete freefall, but the landing was uncontrolled and at an accelerated pace.”
Although one in a thousand parachutes fail to deploy, it seems the odds of surviving aren’t as good. A Merced county family was awarded a $40-million judgment in 2021 after their 18-year-old son died in a 2016 parachute accident while jumping with a skydiving school boasting a history of nearly two dozen fatalities since they opened in 1981. In 2019, meanwhile, a skydiver died in Central California after slamming into a semi on Highway 99 and in 2021 another California woman died after her parachute became tangled and did not deploy.
GoJump Oceanside is also no stranger to accidents. In June 2022, a GoJump aircraft met with tragedy when the plane crashed with two people inside, leaving one dead and one in critical condition. The crash ran a grim parallel to a GoJump accident in February 2022, leaving two men injured after the pilot allegedly decided to embark on a steep descent in an effort to “race the skydivers to the ground.” as reported by the Coast News.
In the case of last week’s skydiver, Sweet-Smith told KSWB she was notified of his release from the hospital on Monday. He suffered from serious but not life-threatening injuries.
Stay on top of the latest in L.A. food and culture. Sign for our newsletters today