Injured Skydiver Sues Over Frightening Fall
(CN) - A skydiving company knowingly put a man in a broken parachute that deployed too soon, knocking him unconscious as he spun to the ground and landed face-down, unable to breathe, he claims in court.
Gerardo Flores, who was seriously injured in Aug. 2, 2012, jump, sued Skydive Monterey Inc. and owner Greg Nardi in Monterey County Superior Court.
Flores claims the parachute he rented from the company "was in such a severe state of disrepair that only intentional actions could have resulted in and caused its dangerous condition."
"Suspension lines that attached between the riser and main parachute were broken and dangling," he claims.
The Velcro closing flap on the main parachute was "completely worn," he says, and both the container and the shoulder/back harness "showed signs of wear and tear that were beyond serviceable limits."
"At least two suspension lines were broken and had been tied (knotted) back together," he adds. (Parentheses in original.)
He says the company "knew that the intentional alteration and modification of the parachute would result in catastrophic injury or death."
Flores claims he jumped from the plane at 18,000 feet and was in the middle of a barrel roll when the parachute opened at about 14,000 feet instead of the usual 3,000 to 5,000 feet.
The early deployment, caused by the faulty Velcro strap, knocked him unconscious, and the knotted suspension lines caused him to spin to the ground, according to the complaint.
He allegedly landed with his face "buried in the ground" and was unable to breathe for nearly a minute and a half before Skydiving Monterey staff came to his aid.
Flores says he suffered "serious injuries, including severe, traumatic and permanent brain injuries due in part to hypoxia," or lack of oxygen.
He demands more than $25,000, including medical costs and lost wages, for intentional tort, negligence, gross negligence and product liability.
His attorney is David Kleczek in Oakland, Calif.