How to survive a fall without a parachute: When your parachute won’t deploy

There’s a lot of unpredictability in the world. Let’s say one day we’re in the air, free-falling, like skydiving. Just when you think it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience, there comes a time when it really is. That’s when the parachute doesn’t deploy properly. How can you increase your chances of survival?

person doing skydiving

First time skydiving, what if the parachute doesn’t deploy?

If you ever find yourself without a parachute, you should have a clear survival strategy in place beforehand.

To start, it’s good to remember three things

  • Body repositioning: Increases air resistance by forcing the body to form an X shape during a fall.
  • Avoid landing on water: Avoid landing on water because it can act as hard as concrete.
  • Find a safe place to land: Choose wetlands, snow, trees, and more.

This way, we have a chance of survival in the face of such a devastating situation.

In fact, there’s a one-in-a-thousand chance that the parachute won’t work. Still, why is it important to be prepared for these situations? This is because preparedness is one of the most important survival skills. So we need to be prepared for all eventualities and always be ready. Doing so increases our chances of survival.

How to maneuver and react in a falling situation

Falling from a significant height without a safety harness can undoubtedly be a scary situation. However, according to skydiving experts, there may still be a 1% chance of survival. The key is how you react when things get messy.

Proper body posture to reduce fall velocity

To slow down on descent, the first thing you need to do is increase air resistance. According to a study published in the International Journal of Aviation, you can achieve this by spreading yourself out in an ‘X’ shape. This means you should have your arms and legs extended, your chest toward the ground, and your back and head up.

Ways to prevent falls

Once you’ve stretched and arched into this position, you should do the following

  • Slow your breathing and avoid hyperventilating. Focus your thoughts and slow down
  • Continue to try to slow your fall – this strategy buys you time to choose a safer landing spot. Learn how to avoid dangerous landing spots and target landing spots that will increase your chances of

Why landing on water is more dangerous than other landing spots

Contrary to what many people think, landing in water after falling from a height can be just as deadly as landing on solid ground. This is mainly due to its incompressible properties, which act like concrete at high impact velocities. Therefore, attempting a water landing can actually cause serious injury or even death.

How to maneuver toward a safer landing spot when no body of water is available

Once you’ve recognized that a body of water is not a safe landing spot in freefall, it’s important to find a better landing spot. You need to use a skydiving technique called “tracking”. This technique involves steering your body as you fall by keeping your arms and legs close to your body. The best landing spots are ideally swamps, snow, or trees, as these surfaces can significantly slow you down on impact, reducing the chance of serious injury.

Tips for choosing the right landing spot

Surviving a fall without a parachute requires not only the right posture, but also the wits to find the best landing spot. Here are some useful techniques and places to consider when choosing a landing spot.

Utilizing tracking techniques to secure landing spots

To change direction, we need a tracking technique. In skydiving, the tracking technique is used to move sideways through the air. To execute this technique, you need to keep your arms and legs close to your body to effectively maneuver as you fall. This will help steer them away from hazards like bodies of water to a safer landing spot.

Consider swamps, snow, or trees as landing spots

Here are some of the best options to consider.

  • Swamps: Swamps can slow down impacts, reducing the chance of fatal injuries.
  • Snow: Snow can extend deceleration time, slowing you down considerably before a collision.
  • Trees: Landing in a dense forest will slow your acceleration considerably, minimizing injuries. However, it is very dangerous, as you can easily get trapped in a branch or injured.

Survival depends on split-second decisions, so it’s important to know your options and act quickly.

Landing considerations: feet first

If the worst happens and your parachute fails, knowing how to land safely is paramount. One important tip that many skydiving experts suggest is to land feet first.

person wearing blue-and-white VANS low-top sneakers with aerial view of body of water

Advantages of landing on your feet

There are several benefits to landing on your feet. Maintaining a standing position when descending can help prevent life-threatening injuries by preventing vital organs from being impacted. In addition, the muscle mass and bone density of the legs can absorb more of the impact of a fall than relatively soft body parts like the head, chest, and abdomen.

How to reduce the impact on your body

When landing feet first, land on the balls of your feet to maximize the area available to distribute impact. This will help distribute the impact evenly throughout your body, reducing the chance of serious injury. Remember, the ultimate goal is to increase your chances of survival.

Bend your knees as you land, but be careful not to fully collapse them. If you bend your knees too much, the impact can cause your knees to slam into your chest, causing serious injury.

It’s important to remember that these are just guidelines, and we can’t guarantee results in unpredictable and dangerous situations. But knowing these tips will give you useful knowledge that can increase your chances of surviving a dire situation.

  • This post was inspired by the video below.

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