Skydiver in Quebec survives 5,000-foot fall after parachute fails: 'It's a miracle'

A 30-year-old skydiver is injured but alive after her parachute failed to deploy, causing her to fall more than 5,000 feet to the ground. 

Canadian news outlet CBC first reported the incident, which took place last weekend at the Parachutisme Adrénaline skydiving center in Quebec. 

The woman, who remains unidentified, was seen by witnesses plummeting from the sky after both her main and backup parachutes failed

"It's a miracle," witness Denis Demers told CBC Wednesday. "I don't know how a person can survive a fall from an airplane like that."

Demers witnessed the entire fall last Saturday evening. He realized that something was wrong when he noticed the woman was descending much faster than the other skydivers. 

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The woman's fall was broken by several trees, which she crashed through before landing in a nearby wooded area. She suffered multiple non-life-threatening injuries, including broken vertebrae and several fractures, and is now recovering at a hospital, according to CBC. 

Many bystanders were certain they were watching something far worse unfold. 

"We watched all the way to the end. We kept hoping something would happen," Océane Duplessis, who was about to board another plane when the woman fell, told CBC. "We were very worried. Very."

CBC reported that the woman did have prior skydiving experience. Police are currently investigating her fall to determine if it is a case of criminal negligence.

Nancy Koreen, director of sports promotion for the U.S. Parachute Association, told CBC that parachute malfunctions are "extremely rare," and that most accidents are caused by operator error. 

"To say none of the parachutes opened is probably misleading," Koreen told CBC. "It's not really the way the parachute works."

In general, skydiving deaths are very rare. The U.S. Parachute Association reports that in 2018 there were a total of just 13 skydiving-related fatalities in America, which is around one death in every 253,669 jumps. 

Injuries were somewhat more frequent — but still uncommon. One in every 1,536 skydives resulted in an injury last year, according to the Parachute Association.

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