CC130338 SAR Technician - From the Investigator

Report / March 8, 2017 / Project number: CC130338 SAR - A Category

Location: Yorkton, Saskatchewan
Date: 2017-03-08
Status: Investigation Ongoing

The accident occurred during a 435 (Transport and Rescue) Squadron CC130H Hercules search and rescue (SAR) training mission. The aircraft departed Winnipeg with a crew of nine and proceeded to the Pelly / Kamsak area in Saskatchewan to complete basic SAR sequences, and then transited to the Yorkton airport (CYQV) with the intent of doing live static line parachute jumps followed by supply drops.

The aircraft was established at 2,000 feet above ground in level flight at 120 knots indicated airspeed in a flap 50 configuration and flown into wind over the desired target. The skies were clear, it was -16o C and the surface winds were out of the northwest at 19 knots gusting to 24 knots. After completing their briefings and safety checks, the SAR Tech Team Leader (TL) exited the aircraft via the open rear ramp at their pre-determined point. The TL exited using the “ball” style technique. The SAR Tech Team Member (TM) followed a few seconds after the TL, except he used the “reverse arch” exit technique. Both the ball and the reverse arch are authorized exit techniques for static line jumps.

As the TM exited the aircraft his left leg was observed to move upwards and his body roll slightly to the right. As this was happening the static line system began to deploy his parachute. The parachute did not open normally and the right side of the canopy was observed to be lower than the left side. He quickly entered a tight clockwise descending spiral.

The TM was observed to make movements similar to those used to untwist parachute lines and quickly released his SAR-PELS (an equipment bag attached at chest level to the front of his harness). His hands were again observed to move up to the risers. The right spiralling rapid descent continued to the ground. The TM landed first followed by the TL. The TL landed as quickly as he was safely able and as close to the TM as he could and immediately performed first aid. Immediate life saving action were not successful as the TM had been fatally injured on impact.

Detailed examination of the parachute did not reveal any evidence of a materiel failure and the investigation is focusing on human factors, including training and emergency procedures.

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