<- Home <- Arhive <- Vol. 21, Issue 1, March 2013

Rom J Leg Med21(1)31-36(2013)
© Romanian Society of Legal Medicine

Descriptive epidemiological study of fatal incidents among civilian sport parachutists in Norway from 1963 to 2008

K.M. Ekerhovd, F. Novomesky, I. Komarekova, L. Straka

Abstract: Introduction. Even though worldwide sports parachuting results in up to 100 deaths annually, very low number of scientific studies is dedicated to this sport activity. Methods. Descriptive epidemiological method was used describing reports from 32 fatalities and 14 post-mortem reports. Operator performance was analysed by two independent professional instructors from Special Operation Forces of the Norwegian Army. Results. The fatality rate was 2.2 per 100,000 jumps. The most frequent injury mechanism is ground deceleration leading to severe lesions and injuries of CNS. No fatalities due to use of high performance parachutes or high speed landing pattern were found. Discussion. The general risk of parachuting is low, but higher than in Scandinavia. Student training there is also safer than the international level. Three fatalities occurred when using a functioning automatic activation device, one was a result of malfunction of such device. The fraction of fatalities associated with longer survival has increased. Failure in executing emergency procedures is the dominant cause of fatalities. 40 procents of fatalities could have been avoided by use of safety devices. Conclusions. The risk level associated with parachuting in Norway was lower than the international average. The majority of the fatalities are due to personal failure. The previous high risk of drowning is reduced. Lives can be saved by improving ground training and using the most recent and modern equipment. There seems to be an increased benefit of emergency medicine service when rescuing parachutists.
Keywords: skydiving, parachuting fatalities, fatal sport accidents, epidemiology, risk, safety.

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