Philadelphia Skydive Ended in Catastrophe

     PHILADELPHIA (CN) — After he “miraculously survived a bone-shattering tandem skydive,” a Pennsylvania man describes his terrifying ordeal in a lawsuit against his instructor.
     Oshunbunmi “Bunmi” Samuel says memories of his childhood karate classes rolled through his brain when he realized that he was about to die.
     The Philadelphia man had planned the July 8, 2014, jump to celebrate his birthday, according to the complaint, filed Thursday in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.
     He felt his instructor, Robert Mandic, tugging on his harness during the terrifying free fall and “saw a yellowish flash over his right shoulder disappear like a mishandled balloon,” the complaint says.
     “Samuel’s heels hit the ground first with his hands out in front of him.
     “He felt and heard a shatter through his legs and spine like a glass window hitting the floor.
     “Then the Instructor Mandic fell on top of his back and he felt and heard more shattering in his body.
     “As Instructor Manidc rolled up over the top of Mr. Samuel, Instructor Mandic pushed Mr. Samuel’s face further into the ground.
     On the ground, Samuel says he heard Mandic screaming, but he could not move his head to see.
     “Samuel begged Instructor Mandic to stop screaming and to remain calm because the screams were distracting plaintiff’s focus to remain conscious and alive but Instructor Mandic continued to scream,” the complaint states.
     “The noon July heat made breathing more and more difficult in combination with the blood filling his mouth.”
     After first responders took away Mandic, Samuel says he heard the sound of a medical airlift helicopter.
     “He begged and pleaded with the first responders to be transported in an ambulance because the thought of going back up in the air was too terrifying,” the complaint says.
     “Mr. Samuel remained conscious and deathly fearful during his airlift to the hospital.”
     Certain he was about to die, Samuel allegedly asked for a hospital chaplain.
     He says he got out of the hospital one month later.
     Though the complaint does not precisely state what injuries Samuel suffered, it implies he is paralyzed.
     “The defendants’ conscious reckless acts and omissions, as set forth herein, increased the risk that Bunmi Samuel would suffer quadriplegia, paraplegia, immeasurable physical pain and suffering, permanent impairment of bodily function, and the damages described herein,” the complaint states.
     Mandic is described as a resident of Hilltown.
     The other defendants are Pennridge Airport and Wind Favor, a Georgia-based company that alternatively spells its name without the space as Windfavor, and goes by Skydive Philadelphia.
     Samuel says Skydive Philadelphia employees pointed him to the parachutes without “any training instruction videos.”
     When they repacked the Sigma Tandem System parachute for him, according to the complaint, they included what is known as an “Icharus” type canopy.
     Samuel emphasizes that the maker of the maker of his parachute “did not approve the Icharus canopy for use in its Sigma Tandem System.” (Emphasis in original.)
     Mandic meanwhile was not licensed by the United Parachute Technologies’ Certification Board to use that parachute, according to the complaint.
     The main canopy became tangled because Skydive Philadelphia carelessly repacked it, according to the complaint.
     Samuel also notes that the corner stop on the main canopy that the Skydive Philadelpha defendants altered “was designed to prevent the type of entanglement experienced with the main canopy.”
     “Among other egregious acts and omissions,” Skydive Philadelphia also “disengaged auto-release of the reserve canopy,” which should have automatically deployed when the main canopy released, Samuel says.
     A canopy history log “would have shown the canopy was out of inspection,” according to the complaint.
     Parachute designer Uninsured United Parachute Technologies dba Relative Workshop is not a party to the lawsuit.
     Skydive Philadelphia bills itself on its website as the No. 1 such provider in the nation.
     Mandic allegedly told Samuel he had supervised jumps like his “thousands of times.”
     Samuel wants punitive damages for recklessness and willful indifference.
     He is represented by Lane Jubb Jr. of The Beasley Firm.
     Representatives from Skydive Philadelphia did not return a Friday afternoon voicemail on their informational hotline seeking comment on the allegations.

%d bloggers like this: