An Israeli paratrooper is breathing easier today after a near tragedy was averted Wednesday during a training exercise open to viewing by the soldiers’ families, Ma’ariv reported Friday.
During the exercise, held at Palmachim Beach by soldiers from the Paratroopers Battalion, as well as the Maglan and Yahalom units, one of the soldier’s parachutes failed to open. The soldier was in freefall, his body upright – a situation that is known as ner, or candle.
Even more dramatically, the parachutist’s family was watching the whole thing.
According to Ma’ariv, the soldier had trouble opening his reserve chute, as well. In a situation like that, the chances of surviving the fall are close to zero.
Fortunately, at the last second, the soldier managed to get the spare chute to open.
A military source told Ma’ariv of the incident: “Following the event, the Chief Infantry and Paratroopers’ Officer appointed a team of inquiry headed by a colonel, which will present its conclusions in the coming weeks. An initial inquiry indicates that the paratrooper operated in accordance with the procedures that are required in emergency situations, as he was taught to do in the training courses and as he was expected to do.”
The whole incident was caught on film by one of the parents. According to Israel National News the parents can be heard exclaiming at the end of the video that a parachute has failed to open [“lo niftach!”], and then pronouncing with relief “patach!” — “he has opened [it].”
Watch a video of the incident below: