THE Taupo skydiver who escaped death when his parachute failed over Motueka has thanked all those who have offered him support.
Liam Dunne, known as Geezer, had jumped from 4000m during the Good Vibes skydiving festival yesterday when his main chute malfunctioned.
His reserve chute opened automatically at 230 metres above ground, with Mr Dunne suffering back injuries when he hit grass at the aerodrome.
He has been joined by his wife Sally in Christchurch Hospital, and he used Facebook to thank well-wishers, APNZ reported.
“Sally and I are totally blown away by all the messages of love and support. Sorry for the scare. Will update later. Love you all Liam,” he wrote.
He is being treated in the hospital’s trauma unit.
He was originally from Liverpool and runs a skydiving jumpsuit and equipment company.
His brother Tony posted a message to him on Facebook.
“Bro, you go to some extremes to test your suits that’s all I’ll say! Glad to see you ok and hope to speak with you soon xxx big love from your big bro & Maeve and get well soon xx.”
Skydive Abel Tasman director Stuart Bean said Mr Dunne was known to many of the people at the festival and news of his injuries had been met with sadness.
“We’re a small community and we all know each other and we’re very sorry to see he’s been hurt.”
New Zealand Parachute Industry Association spokesman Keith Gallaher said they would conduct their own investigation into what happened.
“We will look at the equipment and the processes related to the accident. Some of the equipment will go back to Germany to get the information out of it (the automatic activation device).”
It appeared the back-up chute had opened in time, but they wouldn’t know the exact height it opened until the data was downloaded.
At this stage it didn’t appear operator error was to blame.
“The original opening of the main parachute seemed to be normal and then when he’s gone to release the brake for the steering lines – that’s when the issue seemed to have occurred.”