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Tandem Skydiving Goes Very Wrong

For her 80th birthday, Laverne decided that she wanted to go skydiving. While on the plane, the first problem encountered was she would not let go of the door and jump out. Finally, the professional skydiver manages to hold her hands long enough for them to both jump out of the plane. The skydiver who was there to record the jump recorded something that no one expected to happen. I wonder if Laverne took her copy home to show all the grandkids…. or an attorney.

Just watch. The first one-and-a-half minutes are a bit slow, so jump ahead to the 1:30 mark when she is on the plane and getting ready to jump….

The Daily Mail picked up on this story, too. Here are some snapshots they posted from the same video from The Chive:


  1. Wow… I’ll say that things seemed like they went very wrong! I really have no knowledge of skydiving, but I can’t help but wonder if it would have been much better for Laverne to have her skydive aborted, rather than her getting forced into a fall out of the plane, by her guide prying her hands away from the sides of the exit.

    And beyond her getting half undressed by the fall, it also looked like she was in danger of falling out of her harness. Could that actually be possible?

    In any case, I still think that once she panicked and then she fought to stay in the plane, that she shouldn’t have been forced into the jump.

    • When I went bungee-jumping, some climbing friends of mine ran the bungee tower (imagine that… just kind of go hand in hand), and they told me that they cannot force anyone to jump. I had asked if they ever pushed, even if the person jumping asks them to, and they said absolutely not. I think this jump should have been aborted, too. She’s very very lucky.

      • I’ve never done bungee-jumping or skydiving, and I’m beginning to think that my adrenalin junkie resume is incomplete and needs some updating – maybe this summer… we’ll see.

        So from what you’ve heard, she shouldn’t have been forced out of the plane, and it’s all on video… Kinda shocking that this all really happened.

  2. Hi,
    OMG she was so very lucky, she did everything she could to not leave the plane, this of course caused a lot of problems with the harness. They should of let the others in the plane go, and if she still didn’t want to go they should of aborted her jump.

    That is just so scary, I was waiting for the harness to break, and I also felt sorry for the guy trying to hold on to her, that would not of been easy, knowing that when he had to open the parachute, there was going to be one hell of a jolt. The look on his face when he was on the ground said it all.

    • I don’t feel sorry for her partner in the least. What he did was completely and totally WRONG! I hope he learned a huge lesson from what happened. It was obvious when he was struggling with her that she was coming out of the harness.

  3. I feel so sorry for her. That fear on her face …They were wrong to force her…Is there an update on her like how she felt after,that you can find? I would like to know her reaction to all this. WOW…

  4. I have to agree with everyone on here. This jump should have been aborted. Wow! I was expecting to see something funny…..maybe a bit of boobs being flashed by her (on purpose of course) but my jaw dropped once I saw what happened to this poor woman. Like Mary above, it would be nice to see if there have been any follow-up videos about her.

  5. the fact that the skydivers could get everything under control and make a safe landing is impressive, and a testament to the training they go through.

    • I was reading some comments on The Chive, and a skydiving master said this:

      “The manufacturer of the tandem rig went to pull this Tandem Master’s rating and promptly found out that this guy DID NOT have a tandem rating in the first place. The dropzone where this incident occurred is not a United States Parachute Association member dropzone (meaning they don’t have to follow all of the recommended safety procedures established by USPA). This dropzone has also been fined in the past for poor maintainance on their aircraft. Also, they have had two of their aircraft stall, with jumpers on board, in the last two weeks.

      Places like these give our sport a very bad name. I hope this doesn’t deter people from trying it out. A piece of advice to those looking to skydive, make sure the dropzone that you go to is a USPA member dropzone. Go to to find a list of member dropzones in your area.

      By the way, the dropzone in question is called Lodi in California. I would avoid that place like the plague.”


      • wow. Eek.
        USPA does enforce good standards on their members. I’ve dived at member and non-member zones, and felt a lot safer at the member ones.

        • I’ve never been before. One of the adrenaline junkie things I’ve not yet done. Yet… I would like to do this one time. And tandem, too. My only major fear is jumping from high places. I can climb 1,000 ft sheer cliffs, but I cannot jump from a high dive. I won’t react like this woman, but it is something I would like to do one of these days. And it’s nice to know about the zones…

      • So the real story comes out… And the real story is that this “guide” had NO qualifications to be guiding anyone on a tandem jump. Even worse, just as I originally suspected, he used incredibly bad judgement when he forced this 80 year old panicked woman to fall out of the plane, and then he came very close to getting her killed – when she almost fell out of her harness!

        This guy is not only an insensitive idiot with no common sense, he’s also a serious menace to other people’s lives, and he should never be allowed to tandem jump with anyone ever again.

        • Yup. You’re a diver. You know all about respecting sports like this. We’re not playing hop-scotch ya know. I always have the utmost respect for the rock wall and all my gear because if I do not, I can die.

        • Exactly. Because so as it is with rock climbing, it also is with diving, and you are absolutely right when you say that people who do not respect the environment or their own life support systems needed to survive that environment – these are the people who will die.

          Fools might get lucky being fools once or twice – maybe even three times in rare cases… but fools who continue to try and beat the odds, end up dead fools, and even worse, their fatal foolishness may take other lives with them.

        • Yeah, she really was…

          Hey, this is off topic, but did you see the story about the ridiculously long lines of climbers all trying to get up the same route on the South Col of Mt Everest at the same time? I think the resulting delays caused at least three deaths.

          But you really need to see a distance shot of the line of climbers to get the full impact of just how bizarre and ridiculous the situation really was – There were literally hundreds of climbers well above 20,000 feet, all waiting in line to get moving; like it was the flippin’ NYC subway!

          Jeese! Never mind the danger – just the route being so incredibly crowded would ruin the whole experience for me! No “Splendid Isolation” in a scene like that one!

        • No, I haven’t seen that. I have mixed feeling about this climbs like this, especially Everest. Because it’s so grueling, there is very little conservation. The oxygen tanks are just tossed aside into these tank graveyards, as is other trash. There’s a lot of “dirty” stuff that people don’t see an know about.

        • Maybe I’ll try to find you a photo. I guess what reminded me of this, was talking about the lousy tandem jump guide – Because as I understand it, there are lots of guide companies working Everest now, who will take almost anyone up Everest – even if they have no climbing experience – as long as the climbers can pay the guides $40 grand for the trip.

          So once again, it’s all about the big $$$ wrecking things. I’ve also heard about the “dirty stuff” you alluded to.

          Even if I had that kind of money to burn, I’d have no interest in that kind of scene.

        • That’s what was happening to rafting the Grand Canyon, too. Now they’ve put restrictions on rafting. Only approved guides and companies are allowed to raft the main part through the park, and they take everything out.

  6. I was horrified when the woman was forced out of the plane. She obviously didn’t want to jump. In her place, I’d seriously consider suing these guys (although she probably signed some sort of release before she went up). Personally, I have very strong principles against jumping out of a perfectly good airplane …

    • The release on something like this can easily be dismissed in court. When I used to guide backpack trips for the Sierra Club, everyone had to sign a waiver, but I was told that if something went wrong that the waiver really doesn’t hold much water in a court of law. Luckily, I never had to worry about it. Worst that happened was some idgit wrapped his ankles with tape for support – but put the tape directly on his skin. So, since we were doing the Narrows in Zion, we’re in water all day long. The tape pulled the skin off his ankles. He eventually couldn’t carry his pack, so we had to divvy up his gear between the rest of us so he could finish the trip without having to carry his gear. He was a violinist for the San Francisco orchestra. Many many years ago.

  7. to me it seemed like she just could not get her legs or feet in the position to get out of the plane and that’s why she was grabbing the plane to help her out. and i thoughts that that’s what she was saying to the instructor. I have been sky diving and it was kinda hard to move to the right place with some one attached to you. but after reading and watching the video I feel bad that she was forced out:( this is a very good reason to check out the sky dive place you pick, we did lots of research on ours before we went.

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