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Student parachutist jumps into trouble

A student parachutist believed to be from West Kelowna has survived a frightening turn of events with little more than scrapes and bruises.

At about 4:15 p.m. Monday, a student with Okanagan Skydive was soaring above the Vernon Airport when he began to descend and struck a residence in the 2400 block of Myriad Road.

“It’s only speculation but it seems like the student passed out and was unable to control the parachute,” said Bret Chalmers, with Okanagan Skydive.

While there were reports that the parachutist got tangled in power lines, that wasn’t the case.

“The parachute got caught up but there was 30 feet between him and the chute and he tumbled towards the ground,” said Jack Blair, Vernon deputy fire chief.

The student, who is believed to be 50 years old and possibly from Kelowna or Westbank, did not break any bones and only sustained bruises.

He had recorded about 200 parachute jumps 10 to 15 years ago but he had been at Okanagan Skydive for the first jump course.

Chalmers has talked to the individual’s family as part of his company’s investigation into the accident.

“We will do an incident report with our national organization,” he said.

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