A woman named Laverne was celebrating her 80th birthday by tandem skydiving for the first time at the Parachute Centre in Acampo, CA. This is something she said she wanted to do for at least ten years. The video of her jump has gone viral on YouTube.
Tandem jumping is when an inexperienced diver is strapped to a professional diver with a special harness. The professional diver is able to control the dive and allow the inexperienced diver to enjoy the skydiving jump without fear of failing to perform the tasks necessary to have a safe jump.
On the video, Laverne seems to be very excited and ready to take her tandem jump. But when it was time to jump out of the plane, she panicked and started to backup. This was when the phrase “once in a lifetime experience” took on a whole new meaning for Laverne and her choice of options for celebrating her 80th birthday. As she starts to backup in her last minute panic, the instructor has already started to move toward the open door and take the jump with her strapped to her chest. As they exited the doorway, the harness slipped down from her waist to her knees and it almost looked like she was going to slip out of the harness.
As they continue downward on their 13,000 foot jump, the instructor keeps pulling Laverne up while trying to adjust her harness around her waist. At one point you can also see the videographer trying to help pull her harness up. The video has gone viral on YouTube as the FAA begins investigating the incident.
According to the Daily News, this jump was taken over a year ago and an employee of the Parachute Center said, “No one got hurt. The equipment worked properly.”
Questions have been brought up about the validity of the video. In the comments section following the Daily News article, Don H says, “No, it is NOT fake. It was real - about a year ago. I was there - the place is near San Francisco (Lodi) and it was terrible. We could tell something wasn't right but didn't know what had happened until after she landed. It's terrible to think about. Everyone was VERY shaken up. And last month, a very experienced jumper, age 71, died in Lodi when he crashed into a vineyard.”