Death by helicopter

Parachuting onto the whirling blades of a helicopter is both an unusual and a horrific way to die. It's definitely the worst kind of parachute accident I can imagine. It happened to one young woman — her first time parachuting — back in August 1987.

The Guardian - Aug 10, 1987

Paula Goodayle “who was hacked to death when she fell through the whirling blades of a helicopter during her first jump.”

The Sport Parachutist magazine (Oct 1987) offered some details into the subsequent investigation of the incident. The basic conclusion seems to have been that it was a colossal screw-up to have had students continue to parachute when a helicopter was in the area.

Miss Goodayle was despatched on the second pass, being the third parachutist to exit the aircraft, the parachute deployed normally, the descent was normal until just prior to landing when there was a collision between the parachutist and a helicopter approximately 430 yards from the target cross.

The conclusions of the Board of Inquiry were that Drop Zone Control or Air Traffic Control failed to suspend parachuting when the helicopter was in the area and that the helicopter pilot failed to take avoiding action or clear the area when parachiting was in progress. The Board could see no reason why parachuting was not suspended or why the helicopter was in the area whilst parachuting was taking place.

The recommendations of the Board were that whenever a student parachute programme is in operation, the Drop Zone Controller must have radio communication with parachuting aircraft for the purpose of suspending parachuting.
     Posted By: Alex - Sat Sep 14, 2019
     Category: Death | Flight | 1980s

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