A tragic accident took the life of a fellow skydiver today. I didn’t know him and he wasn’t a member of our club but he was a member of a tight-knit community of skydivers and tributes and discussions have gone on all afternoon/evening on a variety of social sites.
The media eagerly features skydiving accidents even without a fatality. Fear and intrigue are easily riled up in the average reader by suggestive references to falling to one’s death (or nearly doing so even when it’s not nearly as nearly as suggested.)
Shock and horror capture our attention. We rush out to watch a fire, we stare at the strewn debris of a train wreck and we terrify ourselves trying to imagine the last moments before impact in airplane crashes. And skydiving accidents. It’s human nature.
Unfortunately for our sport, skydiving, it’s rather bad press. People presume that skydivers are all adrenaline junkies and irrational risk takers. It sets up the sport to be something akin to dancing with death and not a serious sport.
Certainly those personality types are attracted to skydiving but (in Sweden for sure) the community at large don’t fit well into that sweeping presumption. Safety is priority number one within the sport world-wide and especially in Sweden, skydiving is extremely regulated and taken very seriously.
Earlier today, Aftonbladet’s article featured a provocative yet inaccurate quote from a police officer describing the accident. After the journalists were forwarded the press release and most recent factual information about the accident (sorry, Swedish only) from the Swedish Skydiving Association, Aftonbladet very professionally revised the headline and took the time to better research the incident and the background around skydiving and the equipment.
Thank you Aftonbladet. BSBD