RIVERSIDE, Calif. (CN) – A mother claims a “fail-safe” parachute failed to open, sending her daughter hurtling to her death. The mother seeks damages from Airtec, the German company that made the Expert Cypres 2 device, and from the companies that supplied and sold it.
Jude Lipps says her 33-year-old daughter, Brooke Baum, of Newport Beach, fell to her death at Perris Valley Airport the day after Christmas last year when her main chute malfunctioned and the backup device, the Expert Cypres 2, failed to deploy the reserve parachute.
“(T)he Expert Cypres 2 promises that it will act independently of any act by the skydiver to cut the cord of the reserve container closing loop (which is all that is required to deploy the reserve chute) at a height approximately 750 feet above ground as long as the sky diver is falling at a rate of descent greater than 78 mph,” the complaint states. (Parentheses in complaint.)
“It promises to do so within a split second. The Expert Cypres 2 has no purpose other than to deploy the skydiver’s reserve chute under these extremely dangerous conditions, and for Brooke Baum the Expert Cypres 2 spectacularly and calamitously failed in its single sole raison d’être.”
Lipps also sued Square Parachutes, the California-based company that sold the Cypres 2 to her daughter; and Ohio-based SSK Industries, which supplied the device to Square Parachutes.
Lipps claims the device failed because “it contains only a single sensor and single processor, with no backup sensor or processor for foreseeable failures.”
She adds that the device can give inaccurate readings “under certain climate and terrain conditions … which will make it appear to Cypres 2 that the jumper is higher than he/she actually is …”
The mother claims that on the morning of Dec. 26, 2009, her daughter’s device did not kick in until Baum, an experienced skydiver, was 200 feet above ground.
“This allowed enough time for the reserve chute to deploy and attain line stretch, but not enough time for the reserve chute to fill with air or slow her descent before impact on the ground,” the complaint states. “Brooke Baum hit the ground at over 100 mph and was instantly killed.”
The mom seeks damages for product liability, negligence, and breach of express and implied warranty. She is represented in Riverside Superior Court by W. Douglas Easton of Costa Mesa.